Finger recognition on the Kinect

The Kinect is awesome, but if you want to do anything at a higher resolution detecting a person’s limbs, you’re out of luck. [Chris McCormick] over at CogniMem has a great solution to this problem: use a neural network on a chip to recognize fingers with hardware already connected to your XBox.

The build uses the very cool CogniMem CM1K neural network on a chip trained to tell the difference between counting from one to four on a single hand, as well as an ‘a-okay’ sign, Vulcan greeting (shown above), and rocking out at a [Dio] concert. As [Chris] shows us in the video, these finger gestures can be used to draw on a screen and move objects using only an open palm and closed fist; not too far off from the Minority Report and Iron Man UIs.

If you’d like to duplicate this build, we found the CM1K neural network chip available here for a bit more than we’d be willing to pay. A neural net on a chip is an exceedingly cool device, but it looks like this build will have to wait for the Kinect 2 to make it down to the consumer and hobbyist arena.

You can check out the videos of Kinect finger recognition in action after the break with World of Goo and Google Maps.

[Read more...]

Make a game for a retro console, win prizes

For all you old-school console hackers out there, there’s a homebrew coding competition being held by NeoTeam for all the retro (and not so retro) consoles of yesteryear. If you’ve ever programmed for the NES, GBA, PC Engine, N64, or even the Dreamcast, now’s your chance to write a game or app and hopefully win a small prize and a great deal of street cred.

Last year, the Neo Coding Competition saw some very cool entries such as [smealum]‘s amazing work in bringing Minecraft to the Nintendo DS ([smealum]‘s non-forum DScraft page is here). DScraft won [smealum] a cool $500 USD, but the bragging rights for bringing Minecraft to the DS are far more valuable than any monetary reward.

There are two categories for the competition, an app division and a game division. All the retro platforms are open for development in this contest, so if you want to write something for your Master System, NES, 32X, or Saturn, you better get started: the contest ends August 20th.

ATX benchtop conversion retains safety features, delivers plenty of current.

atx-benchtop-psu

[Bogin] was looking to add a benchtop power supply to his array of tools, but he didn’t really find any of the online tutorials helpful. Most of what he discovered were simple re-wiring jobs utilizing LM317 regulators and shorted PS-ON pins used to keep the PSUs happily chugging along as if nothing had been changed. No, what [Bogin] wanted was a serious power supply with short circuit protection and loads of current.

He started the conversion by disassembling a 300 watt ATX power supply that uses a halfbridge design. After identifying the controller chip, a TL494 in this case, he proceeded to tweak the PWM feedback circuit which controls the supply’s output. A few snips here, a few passes with a soldering iron there, and [Bogin] was ready to test out his creation.

He says that it works very well, even under heavy load. His tutorial is specific to these sorts of PSUs, so we would be more than happy to feature similar work done with those that implement other design topologies. In the meantime, be sure to check out a video of the hacked power supply in action below.

[Read more...]