Window curtain moves to screen pedestrians

[Niklas Roy] built a motorized window curtain to screen out foot traffic in front of his window. When you hear “motorized curtain” you may think that this will move up and down but it doesn’t. Instead, the small curtain move horizontally to cover passersby as they travel down the sidewalk. This is accomplished using a camera in conjunction with some motion sensing software. In the video after the break you can see that the software also anticipates the movement, and ends up doing a good job of keeping the target covered. That’s thanks to the Processing sketch working in conjunction with a rotary encoder on the hardware setup. Details for both are available on the page linked above.

This harkens to other community involvement hacks we’ve seen like the subway stair piano, or the bottle recycling video game. It’s fun and quirky, which is not too much of a surprise as we saw a glimpse of that when we looked at [Niklas’] public fountain hydropower generator.

[Thanks Lejupp and others via Engadget]

23 thoughts on “Window curtain moves to screen pedestrians

  1. Just like a Rube Goldberg machine. Solves through complexity a simple problem.

    Next step, either:

    1) have a 2nd (maybe even a 3rd) curtain for dealing with multiple ‘targets’.
    2) utilise a smaller curtain and move it in 2 dimensions (up/down as well as left/right).

    I look forward to seeing more of this guys stuff. Well, maybe not more water fountain stuff.

  2. Haha. Privacy yeah ;-)

    Notice how every single pedestrian only looks at the window when they see the thing moving in their peripheral vision ;-)

    Funny project though.

  3. @biozz

    something like a video projection of a smiley face that has eyes that follow you, then frowns if you stop to look at it.

  4. Too bad the control algorithm is really poor. Lots of overshoot and bad estimation. I bet PID control, or even just a PD/PI would work better.

  5. @goldscott

    Don’t blame the curtain man and rtf source code, he’s published on his website! That thing is PID controlled. I guess it is more a problem of adjusting the parameters. But in my opinion, the overshoots also add some funny hectical behaviour to the curtain.

    Great project!

  6. I think that the pedestrian detection is based on sole frame differencing, a bit more complicated – a really simple background subtraction algorithm (e.g. approximate median) with some postprocessing would give better results. Nice project though :)

  7. The reverse of stated desired effect is happening can could be used as “you wanna know what’s in my shop but you’ll have to come in to see”.

    Sell it :)

  8. very, very cool

    he should add some code which says that if someone stops to look, it’ll be more likely to anticipate them to move back and forth

  9. The reactions were funny, but all the curtain thing did was attract attention. People were playing with it. Should have been called “My Little Source of Amusement.” Great project though, I was amused at it.

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