Tech Briefs

According to a Nielsen survey at the time of this reporting, 41% of all households have a game console. This is one market in which NASA has been absent from education and outreach efforts. Kinect Engineering with Learning (KEWL) is made to enter into that market and bring NASA education and outreach to a very familiar venue. KEWL creates an education and outreach experience that is more participatory, both in a school and museum environment.

Figure 1. The <b>Xbox 360</b> is one of the most recognized gamng consoles.
KEWL is a set of applications that runs on an Xbox 360 (see Figure 1) using the Kinect controller used for education and outreach. These applications currently include: Train R2 (see Figure 2), a visual simulation of Robonaut 2 that allows students to control a virtual R2 in a game environment; Drive R2, an interface using the Xbox 360 and Kinect controller that allows students to control the real R2 using the methods they learned playing Train R2; ISS experience, a visual tour of the interior of the International Space Station where students use their body to fly through the virtual ISS; Gravity Ball, a simulation of throwing balls in the gravity of different planets; Solar Array repair, a simulation of the simplified STS-121 solar array repair mission; and PlaySpace, a Mars/Moon application that allows students to experience different aspects of Mars/Moon.

Figure 2. In <b>Train R2</b>, the student learns to control a simulated R2 using simple poses.
Users can “fly through” the ISS using their body, allowing an experience similar to what an astronaut would have on orbit. In PlaySpace, users can fly over the surface of Mars and view surface data obtained by Mars rovers. Users of Train R2 and Drive R2 can experience what it is like to control a robot over a distance with a time delay, simulating the time delay that would occur between ground control and an on-orbit robot. The initial ISS experiences were built using parts of code from the NASA Enigma software. The models used in these experiences were also from the Integrated Graphics Operations and Analysis Lab model database. The PlaySpace experience incorporates surface data obtained from NASA rovers and satellites and was built by NASA JPL.

This work was done by Sharon Goza and David Shores of Johnson Space Center; William Leu, Raymond Kraesig, Eric Richeson, Clinton Wallace, Moses Hernandez, and Cheyenne McKeegan of Tietronix Software Inc.; and Jeffrey Norris, Victor Luo, Alexander Menzies, Dara Kong, and Matt Clausen of JPL. MSC-25110-1

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Kinect Engineering with Learning (KEWL) (reference MSC-25110-1) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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