controllers, DIY, hacking, interface

Kinect and spacial projection mapping

Kinect, yes, a very interesting topic on several different levels. First, there is the technological side: The last months have shown that a lot of great projects can be realized when you have a 3D camera! Johnny Lee (famous for his Wii remote projects) posted a video that sums up some of the most interesting projects created in the first 5 months since the release:

(The list of featured projects can be found in the description of the YouTube-Video or in the comments on his blog.)

I very much share Christian’s view, that projects with spacial output (he called them “space to space systems”) are the most interesting ones. In this context I really like the research into mapping projections onto physical 3D objects (you might want to call it “projection-based augmented reality” or “spacial augmented reality”). Thus, I’m very happy to see, how this research profits from the Kinect’s technology.
While the mapping-process used to be a time-consuming manual process in its first incarnation (e.g. using 3d touch probe scanners like Raskar et al. did for their Shader Lamps, one of the pioneering work in this field), then became easier using structured light scanners (e.g. like Jones et at. in their last year’s ISMAR contribution) now really got easy! Furthermore, it is now possible to do it invisibly and in realtime. So, when the physical scene changes, the projection can change instantly without a time consuming re-calibration. With that, physical objects can act as both, input device and output display:

Kinect Hadouken from Elliot Woods on Vimeo.

Kinect-Projector Visualization from Augmented Engineering on Vimeo.

Now, I’m really looking forward to seeing the great potential this technology used in tangible interaction projects!

In addition to the technological possibilities, there are two other aspects that I’d like to see discussed in this blog over the next weeks:

  • What can we learn about development processes in the internet-age from how all these Kinect-projects learned from, built-upon and were inspired from each other? What can we learn about collaboration?
  • What does this tell us about how companies can profit from “hacked” or rather “open” products? Isn’t all the buzz about the Kinect the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft? Shouldn’t that make other companies think about how they see their products? And especially rethink the restrictions they impose on their customers (yes, I’m looking in your direction here, Mr. Apple!)?

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