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]

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    If the curtain doesn’t suffice, I’m sure this can be mounted on the outside with a paintball gun attached to it. ;-D

  2. ColinB says:

    ROFLMAO! I can’t stop laughing watching the pedestrians as they try to figure out what’s going on. Unbelievable!

    Moby hack!

  3. haha look at that guy dancing at 1:08 :)
    great idea and great implementation!

  4. The DON says:

    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.

  5. j says:

    I think I would prefer it to follow me instead so I can walk naked around my house

  6. dwqas says:

    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.

  7. biozz says:

    cant say its cheaper than a full curtain but it draws eyes X3 … i think a smiley face would be funnier tho X3

  8. brad says:

    @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.

  9. goldscott says:

    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.

  10. 01001011 says:

    @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!

  11. sd says:

    I lol’d all the way through that video; brilliant idea! :o)

  12. Doug says:

    Outstanding!

  13. davo1111 says:

    i love it. I think it would be slightly better if the curtain was a little heavier

  14. Sepherro says:

    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 :)

  15. bob says:

    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 :)

  16. jeditalian says:

    lol maybe not so good for privacy but good for Halloween

  17. mowcius says:

    I love the idea. Looks like a great bit of fun!

    Not sure I’d be using a curtain but tracking people and moving stuff is always cool.

  18. Addidis says:

    hehehehehehehehehehe.
    People didnt realize they were on camera as they danced infront of the window hehehehe.

  19. Paul says:

    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

  20. Greycode says:

    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.

  21. TFk says:

    Does anyone know what the music on the video was?

  22. Mr. Sandman says:

    @TFk: watch the whole video…

  23. roy says:

    What heppens when there are 2 persons walking on the side walk at the same time, crash blieb blieb?????

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