Microsoft Creates Autonomous Party Photographer Robot

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Sorry, party photographers, you’ve been replaced—by a robot. Microsoft’s new EDDIE (short for Expandable Development Discs for Innovation and Experimentation) can now roam a crowded room, focus on people’s faces and snap photos with a fancy DSLR camera.

Okay, so right now it’s more of an advanced, camera-equipped Roomba than anything else, but it’s still pretty cool. Here is how it works: EDDIE roams around autonomously, using infrared sensors to make sure it doesn’t bump into anything. In the video, Microsoft developer Greg Shirakyan claims that future versions will also utilize sonar to avoid glass and other clear materials.

(PHOTOS: Cinema’s Most Memorable Robots)

EDDIE is outfitted with a Microsoft Kinect, which uses its skeletal tracking system to judge when somebody is in the frame; once it finds someone, it takes a photo with the attached camera and then uploads it to Flickr.

Let this baby roam around your next party and you’ll have plenty of snapshots waiting for you online, no effort required. What’s especially fun about EDDIE is that, while clever, it’s not beyond an amateur programmer’s ability to create something similar. Microsoft’s robotics team used the recently released Robotics Developer Studio 4, which is free to download.

Microsoft also announced that it would help push the Kinect beyond the Xbox platform by releasing a software development kit for commercial projects in early 2012, meaning that the many tinkerers who were already hacking the Kinect or using the non-commercial SDK will soon be able to turn a dollar..

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