Katleho Makgobe

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Supervisors: Dr Matthew Peel
  • Project: Exploring the Capabilities of the Kinect Camera in Measuring Plate Distortions

The Kinect camera is a low cost device that is widely used within the gaming industry to measure human movements during interactive gaming. The research project was interested in the potential of the camera in measuring plate distortions as current measuring devices are sometimes extremely expensive and do not always have good measuring capabilities. Plate like structures are used as ship hulls, floor panels and also car bodies and therefore being able to measure the distortion of these structures is extremely important in industry. The project involved investigating different data acquisition methods from the Kinect camera as well as building a testing rig to conduct various experiments.

Camera actuation Camera standAs a group, we designed and built a modular rig that could bend a plate in several modes and also move the camera around systematically to take measurements. Once the rig was built we conducted experiments using the rig and obtained data from the Kinect camera which was compared to physical measurements taken from dial gauges. The research was the first of its kind to look comparatively at the different data acquisition methods available from the Kinect and also quantitatively assess the accuracy of each of the methods.

In the research, we found that the Kinect Fusion data from the camera was the most accurate and this compared well with our initial hypothesis. The work also demonstrated that in terms of cost and measuring capabilities, the Kinect camera compared well to other measuring devices currently used and thus could potentially be used to measure plate distortions.


Katleho Makgobe was awarded an individual merit on this group project, she writes:

"After my second year at university I got a summer internship at an engineering surveying company in London. The internship was working within marine engineering and helping the company to develop new ways of monitoring propeller performance on large ships. I thoroughly enjoyed the internship and seeing the commercial side of engineering.

I decided to do a year internship after my third year and suspended my studies for a year to work in materials research and development at Rolls-Royce. My third year research project at university was pivotal in helping me obtain the internship as it was working on understanding the manufacturing defects that come with producing composite materials and I worked in a similar role at Rolls-Royce.

My third year individual research project involved researching and understanding how residual stresses develop in composite materials, which are new materials making their way into different engineering application from gas turbines to solar panels. The project really helped me gain perspective of the importance of the fundamental concepts we learnt in the first two years of the course and these continued to be very important even during my internship at Rolls-Royce.

I have particularly enjoyed the mix of project work and individual work on the course and overall, I’ve had a great time at Bristol, playing for the University basketball team and joining several societies."

Katleho Makgobe, Billy Foster and Lewis Jones, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Edit this page