We have been waiting for a while for the Xtion Pro Live to be released. ASUS previously released the Xtion Pro depth sensor without an RGB camera and we have been hoping that they would release a version of the Xtion that integrates an RGB camera and hopefully provides hardware time synchronization and registration between the depth image and the color image. Other features on our wish list for robotics would be a wider field of view, a shorter minimum range for manipulation tasks or a longer maximum range.for navigation tasks or both by using either multiple laser projectors or multiple IR cameras.
The ASUS Xtion Live Pro definitely seems to be designed for developers instead of consumers. Instead of sweeping curves and Torx security screws, the Xtion Pro Live is easy to disassemble with Phillips head screws and has several flat surfaces that can be used to mount the sensor. The price of $199 is bit more than a Kinect, however the Xtion Pro Live has several advantages for robotics and computer vision applications.
The Xtion Pro Live is significantly smaller than the Kinect and the placement of the lenses are more symmetric, this give it a less lopsided appearance and makes it much more usable for humanoids. Robots on a diet will be pleased to know that the Xtion Pro Live weights about 170 grams including the USB cable. Perhaps best of all the sensor does not require an external power supply, making in much more portable and a great choice for mapping and art projects where power isn't always available.
If necessary, the base is easy to remove and replace.
The two piece case opens easily and reveals a cast metal frame for cooling and precision alignment of the cameras and the projector. If you were careful I bet you could tap holes directly into the frame if necessary.
The USB cable is attached with a connector for easy modification, if you need Mini or Micro USB connectors instead.
So far in our testing we have not been able to determine conclusively if the Xtion Pro Live has hardware registration or synchronization. We have a request in with ASUS for a follow up and will let you know as we have more information.
Overall it seems well designed and may be worth the extra cost depending on your budget and application. The ASUS Xtion Pro Live is currently only available direct from ASUS. Tell them we sent you and let them know if you are using the sensor for robotics.