CSAIL Brings 'Minority Report' Technology Alive

The futuristic technology of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, which saw Tom Cruise work with a glove-controlled interface that allowed him to pull, drag and toss images around a computer screen, is now possible thanks to a new graphical interface coming out of CSAIL. Systems Robotics Engineer Garratt Gallagher has released a video where he plucks images from a reel he drags onto the screen, then enlarges, spins and casts the pictures aside a la Minority Report.

Gallagher used the Kinect sensor from Microsoft and libfreenect driver to interact with the Kinect in Linux, and graphical interface and hand detection software developed at MIT to interface with the ROS open source robotics program (developed by Willow Garage). The hand detection software showcases the abilities of the Point Cloud Library, part of ROS that MIT has been helping to optimize. The software enables natural, real-time interaction as it can detect hands and fingers at a high speed.

Gallagher is a member of both Russ Tedrake’s Robot Locomotion Group and the Learning and Intelligent Systems Group, which is led by Leslie Pack Kaelbling and Tomas Lozano-Perez. Inspired to work with the Kinect by its low price and accessibility, Gallagher believes the system should inspire new developments in the field of robotics. Future Kinect projects at CSAIL will include work on detailed 3-D models of objects for robotic manipulation, according to Gallagher. Read more on the ROS program here.

Abby Abazorius, CSAIL