FIRST Mega Weekend is a competition amongst some of the brightest young minds in the world. For three days in March, young people from The USA, Brazil, Canada, Turkey and Jamaica gather in New York for team challenges in technology, engineering, and robotics.
This year will be a little different for the FIRST Robotics teams, who are now preparing to compete using Xbox 360 Kinect Controllers at the FIRST Robotics Competition, held on March 16-18, 2012 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, NY.
During the Robotics Competition, teams will have the option of supplementing one of their robots' autonomous routines with movement from the team members, using the Kinect. The combination of the Xbox 360 Kinect and the alliance robot forms a "Hybrid", which the driver will be able to control through a series of motions. After 15 seconds, conventional controls kick in and the driver comes back to help the team.
"We designed Kinect to make entertainment more simple and more approachable," said Alex Kipman, GM, Hardware Incubation for Xbox at Microsoft in the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff Video, "(The) technology has so much potential uses beyond the living room. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what (the teams) do with it with (their) robots at the FIRST Robotics Competition."
This is just one of the new uses Microsoft has found for the Kinect outside of gaming. The company continues to push the technology into new applications in robotics, 3D desktops, and virtual rendering.