Back in late March, Hizook provided an overview of various depth cameras (aka range cameras, 3D cameras, time-of-flight cameras, RGB-D cameras), including the PrimeSense solution now known to be the basis of Microsoft's Kinect (formerly Project Natal). In the last 3 months, the depth camera space has seen numerous updates, such as additional commercial offerings and product updates / availability. Perhaps the most exciting news (as we speculated in March) is that low-cost offerings will indeed be hitting the market later this year: Microsoft recently confirmed that Kinect (formerly Project Natal) will start shipping in early November and is already available for pre-order on Amazon.com for $150 USD! More questions than answers remain -- here is what we know, help us fill in the gaps...
Having suffered with slow tilting laser rangefinders, my recent experiences with real-time depth cameras (both the SR4000 and Willow Garage's projected stereo on a PR2) make me a firm believer that depth cameras are going to be a boon to robotics. The announcement of Kinect's availability and pricing has pretty much confirmed the start of the low-cost depth camera era. However, I have numerous questions and concerns:
Back in late March, Hizook provided an overview of various depth cameras:
To that list we can now add the following:
||The device pictured at left is a ZC-1000 series depth camera offered by Optex (of Japan). The design is actually based on a custom-silicon depth camera solution provided by Canesta. Canesta, like Primesense, markets the underlying technology to OEMs for product integration. Based on product flyers, it seems to be a pulsed IR time-of-flight variant.|
|The Panasonic D-Imager is yet another offering. You can learn more about it in this informational video. It is supposedly being released some time in 2010-2011. The D-Imager also seems to operate on pulsed IR time-of-flight, though it is unclear whether the underlying components can be attributed to Panasonic or someone else (ie. Canesta).
|There is an open-hardware project by Kyle McDonald that uses a webcam and projector to perform real-time 3D capture at 60fps. This is similar to the Willow Garage projected stereo system, but seems to be a hobbyist effort.
Does anyone know of other depth camera examples (OEM or otherwise) or pricing / availability? Also, if you hear about any Kinect hacks, be sure to let us know!