MIT Researchers Develop Localization and Mapping Prototype Using The Kinect

Maurice Fallon, a research scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, and his team has used the Kinect with a laser range finder and a laptop to create a real-time mapping rig for firefighters and rescue workers to utilize.  The prototype is known as SLAM (for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) and it has received funding from the U.S. Air Force and the Office of Naval Research since it stands out from other indoor mapping systems.

The processor is a laptop and it sits in the user’s backpack.  The final product is intended to be a handheld unit.  The on-board laser scans a building in a 270-degree arc with a laser range finder.  The information is gathers is combined with depth and visual data that is gathered by the Kinect before it is sent to the laptop to create a map in real-time.  The system can be used for detecting a user’s motion and it can create multi-floor maps when sensing activity on a staircase or elevator.

The camera on the Kinect is used to determine whether a user has been in a certain location and matches it up to data if it differs from the first walk-through.  Check out a video demo below:


This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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