Asked — Edited

Scanning Room With Laser

Has anyone done a room scan with a laser or some other method?

What hardware would you recommend?

How much programming is involved? (I'm not afraid of programming, just curious how much of scanning task is handled by hardware)

What about cost? options?


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There are some lidar units available, but i'm not a fan of laser. Mainly because it's a sensor that performs only one task - distance. I really like Kinect because it works as a camera also... this means object recognition, distance, vision, etc..

I have been working on a kinect interface - but slowly because I can't figure out what to do with it. It'll come to me:) I welcome suggestions!

If you have programming experience, the Kinect SDK is very easy to use and will compliment the EZ-SDK quite well


I am sure several of us can help with ideas of how to use Kinect.

Off the top of my head, say I want my Robot to go from my office to the dining room and not hit any furniture. I could have a general map of which rooms it needs to traverse, but it could use Kinect to identify obstacles and plot a course through each room on its own without the approach, retreat, turn, approach, retreat, turn action of just using the ping sensor.

Gesture control (you could do this with the camera too, particularly using something like Open CV, but I think the Kinect SDK may already have what you need built in).

Probably dozens of other ideas.

@mcbaker01, what was your idea for what a laser scanner would be used for?



Sounds like I'll have to google kinect interface.

I need something that scans a room and returns a multi-dimensional array. Are you familiar with JSON?

X should be the wall closest to north

Notice the north east corner, it's not a square room.

If the room is 6x6 I would expect this { dimensions: { x: 6, y: 6, degreesDeviationFromNorth: 3 }, map: [ [0,0,0,1,1,1], [0,0,0,1,1,1], [0,0,0,1,1,1], [0,0,0,0,0,0], [0,0,0,0,0,0], [0,0,0,0,0,0] ], readFrom: { x: 3, y: 1 } }


So are you using this just to create a map, or will the robot then interact in some way with the room and/or its contents, or are you using it so the robot can determine where it is?

In any event, I think Kinect would do just what you want.

here is some good info on what it does:



The robot is going to traverse the room, do a survey.


I will check that out.


Kinect also has an array of 4 microphones. So you can use it for voice input. It also identifies the direction a sound comes from. The free SDK has a lot of sample code to get you going.

** Full Disclosue: I work on the Xbox Hardware team at Microsoft :-)


@mike, oooooooooh really?:) You're partially responsible for the developer edition Kinect that Microsoft sent me then! I spent a bit of time with the robot team from redmond. It was a good group of ppl to meet, we enjoyed our visit


Ah... this is great.

Hope you will be around when I have questions Mike ;)


Happy to help where I can!


whats bad about kinect compare to laser is ,one its very big,cant work for most robot designs,second is draws over 1 amp,i think 1.5 amp at 12 volts,thats about 18 watts,second it hard to use as a navigation and a camera at the same time

on laser or LIDAR is the best for navigation only,small size and most draw under 500ma,like the NEATO LIDAR you can mostly get for about $150 about 4 inches square and one inch tall

seems like every sensors has its good and bad points


The power draw of the Kinect sensor is 12W (1A @12V)

For 12W you get a 3D sensor, a VGA camera and 4 microphones. The 12W includes the power needed for the integrated tilt motor which angles the device up and down. There is also a processor on board that cleans up the audio signals and handles echo cancellation.


3 i have draws 1.26 amps then drops to 1 .13 amp,but there is about 500 ma you forgot on the usb at 5 volts i have 3 of them at home,biggest drawback its very very long only it looks good on is the IROBOT ROOMBA the the turtlebot linux design is using somebody did a great teardown of the kinect,pelter element and laser draws the most on the LIDAR that NEATO XV-11 is using it draws 365 ma at 5 volts for microphone one of the best to use is the andrea scanning microphone i think it uses 4 but in a scanning motion design with a echo cancellation circuit

quality of the image sensor not that great ,its a vga sensor i like the small microsoft HD webcam witch has a much much higher quality,every thing now is HD

something you guys may or may not know about the KINECT it was hacked awhile back by someone and then latter on microsoft made a SDK for it i do hope DJ will make interface soon for it ,my ROOMBA project is waiting for it so far only linux has drivers and software for it,and i have other large robots i might use it on,wont work well on B9 OR OMNIBOT OR other small robots


Biggest issue with kinect is that you need a Windows PC to run it. Second problem, especially for me is that it does not work properly outdoors in sunlight. Comments ? Also once roborealm has a module for the Ez-ROBOT then it might be easy to use a kinect with their software. The greatest thing abou the kinect is sketal tracking and it can identify humans and gestures. Also, obviously the depth camera. It does not wotk closer then 2.5 feet so you need a safety sensor if you get too close.


another item bad about the KINECT is it only scans at 180 deg on the NEATO LIDAR it scans at 360 deg and i think it detects at about .5 inch


I've read somewhere that near mode could work a little bit shorter. Down to .4 meter (approx. 16"?). Each have their strength for a given application, of course. Lidar sensor cant do for the average hobbyist what windows Kinect can do right out of the box and Kinect cant do what a specialized lidar sensor does. Just a matter of which is best for you and what you want your bot to do.


there is a special lens you can get for the KINECT TO MAKE IT SHORTER but another item with KINECT you can detect people and objects at the same tim you are tracking that main reason you will never see it on professional robot design they use LIDAR mostly 2 things i dont like about the KINECT its not really made for the robots we make here ,because of th length stick out to far,and draws alot of wattage 12 watt for mail power and about another .4 watts on usb 5 volt power only thing i like to see if DJ gets it working i want to put on the only robot it will fit IROBOT ROOMBA or CREATE,any other robot it will look very odd or strange

both the KINECT and LIDAR still needs the code (api) made for it for the software you are using and both really works out of the box. LIDAR just needs a simple TTL to USB adapter,and there is a window code for it and linux PYTHON code

so mostly depends on the robot design ,large robot would use KINECT but cant do face tracking at the same time smalll or large would use the LIDAR (LIDAR IS ABOUT 3 " BY 3" BY ALMOST 2" HIGH) plus you cant see in back of the back witch is very need it for navigation

one of the main reason hobbyist didnt use the LIDAR before is because of the very high cost over $1000 ,on NEATO XV-11 LIDAR witch has about the same accuracy at $1000 unit its well under $150 for NEATO XV-11 LIDAR


Where do you buy the NEATO LIDAR?


I believe RobotShop carries them. Not cheap cheap.


i see them very cheap $135 + $7 SHIPPING i pretest them on a board that has usb output and speed control circuit ,with a python code also much info on the hack site for windows and linux driver plus API commands this site has many many posts on the LIDAR on how to use it to make the board very simple all you need is usb to ttl converter and simple 555 timer circuit for speed control, robotshop has them for $299

lidar hacking site


Where do you see them for $135?

Google is not helping me here.


They show up on Ebay from time to time. People buy whole ones then break them down and sell the parts for an overall profit. No names :)


I SELL THEM.WILL PUT ANOTHER ONE,I HAVE ABOUT 7 OF THEM sorry i do have up the price a little on shipping on ebay ebay charges 10% fee and and buy it now fee


So wait... you buy a neato, take it apart and sell the parts on ebay for a profit?


Wish I had time to do that.

Are we on the cusp of having a hobby grade lidar? Maybe I should just wait one month and buy one for $50 that comes with a manual and software?

Does anyone have an inside scoop on this?


most likely wont see one,this is about the same accuracy of $1200 LIDAR and robotshop sells them for $299

neato xv-lidar on ebay

neato i get are OEM models for $250 new,witch no charger or homebase or filters or large box

also if sold will repost another one,have 7 now ,getting ready to buy more new neato's it look simple for a person who can program it,since all info is on the site ,plus ready to use on LINUX ROS with complete codes on the site


ALSO to save some money buying it can send $135 +$12 paypal and postage fee to my paypal acoount,i do this for my friends on EZB forum it saves you $13 ,that goes rto ebay for fee's international is more $12 registered mail cost plus postage


Arg... I get paid on friday!

Any chance you will have one in 4 days?

OR do you take credit cards? I'm not seeing that paypal takes credit cards anymore.


Something else to think about. There is another floor cleaning robot now being sold by iRobot called the Mint that uses a small indoor cube that is placed above the floor (like on a tabletop) and uses the Northstar indoor GPS process to map and clean a room.


yes paypal only uses credit cards that the main item,just posted it today and still so far have 7 of them on paypal go to profile then update card to add a credit card i am FRED from florida

yes i know all about the mint,irobot just bought the company i bought it to try to hack and found out it was to hard to hack,same with the person who hacked the neato heard he tried too nobody ever hack it yet and yes it does use the northstar indoor gps,but also need a cube for it so not really great for robots,i got lucky to resell it on ebay and get my money back i paid for it,and i had the board remove and put it back main problem is IROBOT will not give you any circuit or codes for itand sensor is hard to wire,too many connections there is another site on the NEATO HACK a WIKI site

I AM NOT A PROGRAMMER but with all the info,codes plus GUI on the neato shouldnt be too hard to program i would think if anybody not good at making a simple circuit i can easy make it for you for free on pay for parts and postage,with should be about $10 total

i really really love to design circuits almost more then building robots also good at looking at a circuit and latter draw it,its called photographic memory


Thanks MATT ,will go out saterday or monday morning,first need to check again to make shore it scans and pack it very good


MATT have a blessed safe christmas and a happy new year.