People-tracking orb demo makes us want to build our own

kinect_eye

Earlier this week, we came across a video of an orb-based eyeball that would follow you throughout the room, based on data gathered from a Kinect sensor. Try as we might, we couldn’t find much more than the video, but it seems that the guys behind the project have spoken up in a recent blog post.

[Jon George] of The Design Studio UK explained that the person-tracking eyeball visualization was built using a PC, a Kinect, and a product called the Puffersphere, which projects a 360 degree image on the inside of a glass orb. A panoramic image is converted for use by the special lens inside the sphere by applying a filter which warps the image into a circular shape.

After the image has been created, a simple Windows app is used in conjunction with the OpenNI framework that allows the image to follow you around the room.

The only problem with this fun little project is the price of the sphere – we’re not sure what it is exactly, but rest assured it is more than we are willing to pay for such a toy. We’re thinking there has to be a way to simulate the orb’s effect to some degree using cheaper hardware. It’s possible that it could be done using a small-scale DIY version of this spherical mirror projection build, though it consists of concave half-spheres rather than full orbs.

In the meantime, take a look at these two videos of the orb in action. Don’t worry – we know you were totally thinking about the Eye of Sauron, so the second video should not disappoint.

Comments

  1. Mike Bradley says:

    Since the kinect features a depth camera, what about making the iris of the eye open based on how close you get, that would give more of a freaky feel :)

  2. Alex says:

    Wow, what an awesome display.

  3. andrew says:

    That seems like a really niche product. I can’t imagine any practical uses that would warrant such a high price.

  4. Chris Muncy says:

    Every Sysadmin needs to put one of these in EVERY user work area. BOFH to the Nth degree!

  5. woutervddn says:

    servo’s, a huge pingpong ball and an lcd projector mod?

  6. Todd Grigsby says:

    Two things: First, what the hell is a Super Umami lens? I searched for a while and couldn’t find any references to it.

    Second: Touchscreen? How many orders of magnitude cooler would this be if it were interactive through a multi-touch interface?

  7. Phyro says:

    @Mike Bradley:
    The width of your iris depends on the lightning conditions, not on the focus of your eye.
    the contraction of your eye´s lense is depth depending ;)

    @Topic: Creapy!
    Grat for halloween…

  8. proflt says:

    i agree with a previous poster. ptz pico projector in some kind of huge ping pong ball? maybe blow up beachball?

    at work i have a ptz camera with motion tracking. ive wanted to do the eye form LOtR. it is already creepy having it follow you around the room. but the eye would make it better.

  9. Alex says:

    When I first saw it, I thought they just had a sphere with an eye on it that they were moving with rollers, like the reverse of a trackball. That might be the solution to doing this cheaply.

  10. nrp says:

    I did something similar last year on the cheap with a pico projector, a USB webcam, and a frosted glass dome from the light in my bathroom: https://eclecti.cc/computergraphics/evil-eye-microvision-showwx-as-a-face-tracking-eyeball

  11. Wander says:

    The first thing I would do if I saw this is run in circles around it as fast as I could and see if a blue coin pops out

  12. Tyler says:

    a cheap alternative to the sphere could be an acrylic globe intended for a lamp: http://www.1000bulbs.com/product/7570/3202-14020-003.html

  13. Amstrad says:

    It’s an Atraxi!

    http://imgur.com/biA5W

  14. Jesse Campbell says:

    would it be as cool with a POV globe?

  15. Frank Münzner says:

    hey it’s so nerdy…..
    i also think how it can work and look at the patent to now what mean the obfuscating description “super unami lens”
    this should be a good starting point… ;-)
    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2008065400

  16. Azur says:

    if you run around it a few times it will implode and reward you with a blue coin

  17. tappa says:

    MARIO 64 EYEBALLLLLLLLL

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