3D display using a kinect

Youtube user [programming4fun] got a Kinect for father’s day and with just a little bit of code, came up with a 3D display using only a Kinect. Instead of the usual Kinect hacks like computer vision or playing Mario, we think the ‘Holographic display’ for the Kinect is one of the most useful implementations of the Kinect we’ve seen.

The build uses the Kinect SDK. The end result is a lot like the Kinect snowglobe we covered earlier, only instead of custom acrylic domes and a projector, this build enables pseudo-3D on any display. The hack works by having the Kinect track the users head. From that, it’s pretty simple to display a projection of a 3D model.

The system only supports a 3D display for one person, although with shutter glasses, that could be could be doubled. [programming4fun] says he’s thinking about adding anaglyph 3D – while the effect on video is pretty amazing, he says it’s not entirely convincing in real life.

We talked to the extremely modest [programming4fun], and he says the build isn’t technologically impressive at all. We’d disagree with that assessment because interfaces requiring movement have been around since 1963 and they still haven’t caught on for a wide audience. While there have been a few motion controlled devices that have worked well, most of them have been pretty bad. The Kinect 3D display seems like it would have some utility with a Microsoft Surface type device.

[programming4fun] says if there’s enough interest he might be convinced to clean up his code and create an installer. Check out the video after the break.

UPDATE: [programming4fun] uploaded another demo with a “behind the scenes” look after this was published. Check it out.

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Controlling a CGA Monitor with an Arduino

CGA monitors may not be an amazing technological advance these days, but they can generally be found very cheaply. Additionally, they have a DB-9 connector and work off of TTL ranges (0-5VDC) making them ripe for experimentation. This hack takes advantage of all of these aspects to bring you an Arduino controlled CGA monitor.

One problem with experimenting with one of these monitors is that they are not that well documented. Fortunately, the detailed write up for this hack goes over some of the timing and frequency issues that one may encounter with this particular monitor. The article gives an Arduino pinout and the program used to drive the monitor with very detailed comments.

Although this hack is by no means a finished product, the now blurry test pattern seen above gives a pretty good proof of concept. It will be exciting to see if this hack inspires any other microcontroller-based projects. For some further information about CGA monitors, Wikipedia also has a fairly in-depth write-up about the technology.

Not your ordinary LED book light


[Steve Hoefer] is not a huge fan of traditional table lamps, so he set off to build a reading light of his own that was more aesthetically pleasing than the standard fare. He thought it would be pretty appropriate to construct his reading lamp out of a book, and we’re inclined to agree.

He stripped the pages from an old book he found at the thrift store, then built a plywood frame to fill in the recently vacated area. A second frame was built inside the first to support the installation of some warm LED strips as well as the acrylic sheet he used to diffuse the light. A whisker switch was installed in the corner of the frame, which turns the lights on when the book is opened. The lamp puts out about the light equivalent of a 40W bulb, and can be “dimmed” by simply adjusting how far the cover is opened.

It looks great on his bedside table, and like some of his other book-related hacks, it’s quite useful as well!

Be sure to check out the video of the light’s construction we have embedded below.

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Poor man’s Peltier air conditioner

It’s summer in Germany, and [Valentin’s] room was getting hotter than he could handle. Tired of suffering through the heat, and with his always-on PC not helping matters any, he decided that he must do something to supplement his home’s air conditioner. The result of his labor is the single room poor man’s A/C unit you see above.

He had a spare Peltier cooler sitting around, so he put it to good use as the basis for his air conditioning unit. He sandwiched it between a pair of CPU heatsinks before cramming his makeshift heat pump into a shoe box. Warm air is drawn into the box and across the cold side of the Peltier before being blown back into the room. On the hot side of the box air is also pulled in by a fan, drawing heat away from the unit before being exhausted outdoors through his window.

While he hasn’t quantified the machine’s cooling power, he seems quite happy with the results. We have a spare Peltier kicking around here somewhere, perhaps we should try building one just for grins.

Game Boy communicates directly with an SD card

[kgsws] just finished his Game Boy upgrade that allows him to load games from an SD card. Loading a game off an SD card has been done before, but [kgsws] decided to not to use a cartridge-based device. In the end, he threw out all the stops and finished his project by having the Game Boy access an SD card directly.

[kgsws] his project trying to figure out how to put some GPIO pins on a game cartridge, but figured that this would take too much hardware. After looking at the specs of the link port, he realized that it was the wrong polarity. Not to be deterred, [kgsws] realized that there was something like a general-purpose I/O on the Game Boy – the joypad input.

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