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PyCon 2011 Atlanta

March 9th–17th

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Interactions with Python, Arduino and Kinect

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Experienced / Poster
Python and Kinect make for an excellent tool set to interact with the physical world. Using them, a small, interactive robot is being created to showcase skills and techniques that can be learned at The Crucible, a non-profit industrial arts education center located in Oakland, CA.


In 2009, Microsoft introduced the Kinect for use with their Xbox 360. It provides a series of sensors that allow for people to interact with a game without using a controller. Soon after it's release, a bounty was put out for open source drivers to allow anyone to use the Kinect for other purposes. Shortly thereafter, the first open source drivers were released.

The robot is being created using Python, a computer, a Kinect, stainless steel, an Arduino microcontroller, servo motors, a bill acceptor, a solenoid valve, a spark plug and a neon transformer. Using the Kinect to locate the closest person, the eyes of the robot track the person as they remain in its field of vision. Using pre-recorded sentences, the robot attempts to interact with the person and encourages them to make a donation.

This session will discuss the use of Python to extract working data from a Kinect, communicating with an Arduino controller and techniques for real world interactions.