Kinect-based system allows computers to locate misplaced items in a home


June 14, 2012

Kinsight is an experimental system that uses networked Kinect cameras to locate missing objects within a household

Kinsight is an experimental system that uses networked Kinect cameras to locate missing objects within a household

Have you ever wished that your computer could answer questions like “What did he mean when he said that?” or “Should I go to that party?” Well, while that may never happen, it could conceivably provide you with an answer if you asked it, “Where did I leave my wallet?” – if it were running the Kinsight system.

Kinsight was developed by Shahriar Nirjon and John Stankovic, who are computer scientists at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The experimental system incorporates networked Microsoft Kinect depth-sensing cameras placed within every room of a house. Those cameras track people as they move through the rooms, and note the size and shape of whatever items they cause to change locations. That information is cross-referenced with a database of the size and shape of objects that belong in the house, allowing the system to determine what things have been moved to what places.

If a user of the system were not able to find something, they could essentially “search” Kinsight using that item’s name, to get its last known location. Apparently, it is able to track fist-sized objects to within a range of about 13 centimeters (5 inches).

In order to be searchable, however, items must first be tagged by the user – Nirjon is currently working on an app to make that process easier.

Source: University of Virginia via New Scientist

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

magnavox used to have a tv that could page the remote when you lost it. sure would be nice to ask my pc where the remote is.


It can also see what you're buying and give you ads for the competitor. lol.

Jason Hiser

Wonder if it will ever answer with this?

"I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you."


Hmm. I see more of a shoplifting or sticky fingers role for the device.

James Galan

I think that a radio-derived device that put every registered item on a coordinate system and tracked them by their markers, would be the best one in terms of installation, privacy, etc.

But is that all necessary? There should be something left to do for us, humans))

Renārs Grebežs

Nice innovation but to be effective we would need 3D camera pairs monitoring every inch of the house. I'm cool with it, but I know many people would have privacy concerns.

Rt1583 is right, this would be most effectively used in a commercial or corporate environment.

This would also be useful as for intelligent safety equipment on a machines shop floor, construction site, and even in the back of an surgical operating theater to track all the clamps and sponges that go into a patient.

Hasan Long
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