Xbox Kinect Used in Levee Experiment
Researchers at the Rensseleaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, aren’t separating their work from play. In a recent series of experiments, they used the Kinect, a motion sensor for the Xbox gaming system, instead of costly sensors on its geotechnical centrifuge.
The point of the experiment was to see how levees can fail when they are overtopped by large floods, in order to prevent future failures. The Kinect accurately scanned and evaluated the volume of eroded soil and variation in the shape of the water channel in recreated tests.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a Kinect system has been used on a geotechnical centrifuge,” said Thomas Zimmie, a dam safety expert and professor of civil engineering at the Institute. Previously, tests to obtain real-time soil erosion data were costly and difficult to manage, but with the Kinect, more tests like this one are viable without breaking the bank.