Is measurement fast becoming a utility? Measurement capabilities, which only fairly recently were complex, expensive and limited to the high end of industrial processes, are now becoming commonplace in consumer type products.
Microsoft’s Kinect was brought out in 2010 as Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii. It consists of an infrared depth sensor, an RGB camera and a multi-array microphone. Microsoft have adopted an open attitude towards the system and have since released several SDK’s (software development kits) to allow users to develop and create their own specific software for totally customised applications. Industrial possibilities are numerous and often utilise the depth sensing capability of the system. The latest SDK to be released by Microsoft (Kinect Fusion) allows the system to be moved around to generate a point cloud of the area scanned. This makes the Kinect effectively a £200 3D scanner that really opens the door to a whole host of applications in industrial scanning. Faro have recently released their Scenect software as a free App that uses the MS Kinect to generate 3D point clouds. This opens up metrology to the mass consumer. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.