Kinect in Space? Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is working with the University of Surrey in England to launch a pair of nano-satellites into orbit that are equipped with Kinect sensors. The intention is that the sensors will enable the minisats to find each other and dock to form a new, larger satellite.
"We were really impressed by what MIT had done flying an autonomous model helicopter that used Kinect and asked ourselves: Why has no-one used this in space?" says SSTL Project Lead Shaun Kenyon. "Once you can launch low cost nanosatellites that dock together, the possibilities are endless - like space building blocks."
The new nano-satellite, called STRaND-2, is the latest in SSTL's STRaND series. Like STRaND-1, STRaND-2 is a three-unit cubesat measuring 30 cm (1 ft) in length. STRaNd-1 managed to pack a lot of functionality into a very small package by using off-the-shelf smartphone technology. STRaND-2 continues this adapt and adopt strategy by using technology from an Xbox Kinect controller for the docking system.