At the Gorguze Family Laboratory here on North Campus, Alexander Pankonien scanned a test wing in the 5 by 7 foot wind tunnel. Aerospace engineers will test their prototypes or parts in the wind tunnels to see how they will fare, scanning the objects to measure how it was affected and determine whether it will be safe to launch.
Usually, the Aerospace engineers scan with a laser scanner which picks up single point. In this instance, Alexander used the Xbox 360 Kinect, which captures entire surfaces, to scan the wing. The Kinect can scan from behind glass or acrylic screening, so it doesn’t upset wind patterns. Though the Kinect is less accurate than the laser scanner, it can scan more of the object than the single laser beam. And, if it is accurate enough to make measurements worthwhile, this will be a great, fast solution to scanning objects in wind tunnels.
By Josephine Keenan