Using Vibration Motors with Microsoft Kinect

A story that’s been popping up in a few places over the past couple of months is that you can improve the accuracy of motion sensors, such as the Xbox Kinect, which have overlapping views by adding a vibration motor.

They work by using an infrared laser projector and a video sensor to capture 3D physical information and track movement. The problem is that when sections overlap, the cameras projectors and sensors of separate units interfere with each other and produce noise. This can reduce the quality of the information to the extent where it is unusable.

It was demonstrated with the Kinect that by adding a DC vibration motor to one unit, the interference can be removed. Without any modification of the internal circuitry of the Kinect at all, what has been dubbed “shake ‘n’ sense” simply places an eccentric rotating mass vibrating motor to the back of the Kinect device, similar to the vibrating motors here:

ERM Vibration Motors

It works by effectively blurring the information from other Kinect units. As the vibrating motor moves the projector and sensor of one Kinect unit together, this has the same effect as keeping that unit stationary and moving all the other overlapping units. Now the other ‘interfering’ signals can be detected as motion blur and be subsequently removed. Check out this video for more details: