Building a zoetrope using Kinect, processing, and a laser cutter

A zoetrope is a device that contains a disk full with a series of images that make up and animation. A couple of different methods can be used to trick the eye into seeing a single animated image. In the past this was done by placing the images inside of a cylinder with slits at regular distances. When spun quickly, the slits appear to be stationary, with the images creating the animation. But the same effect can be accomplished using a strobe light.

The disk you see above uses the strobe method, but it’s design and construction is what caught our eye. The animated shapes were captured with a Kinect and isolated using Processing. [Greg Borenstein] takes a depth movie recorded while someone danced in front of a Kinect. He ran it through a Processing sketch and was able to isolate a set of slides that where then turned into the objects seen above using a laser cutter.

You can watch a video of this particular zoetrope after the break. But we’ve also embedded the Pixal 3D zoetrope clip which, although unrelated to this hack, is extremely interesting. Don’t have a laser cutter to try this out yourself? You could always build a zoetrope that uses a printed disk.

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Android apps using Processing

Processsing has come to Android. [Jer] posted a guide to setting up the software and coding your first Processing app for Android. The module which supports Google’s mobile operating system is not yet part of the stable Processing release but it works and is available to download and use. It provides support for Android version 2.1 and newer, playing nicely with the SDK to emulate your sketches during development. The Hello World app seen above uses just a few lines of code to draw a white box on an orange background. After you’ve installed and tested the tools you’ll be developing in no time.

This makes a great addition to your Android development tool bag.

[Thanks Tech B]

GPU Processing and Password Cracking

Recently, research students at Georgia Tech released a report outlining the dangers that GPUs pose to the current state of password security. There are a number of ways to crack a password, all with their different pros and cons, but when it comes down to it, the limiting factor in all of these methods is processing complexity. The more operations that need to be run, the longer it takes, and the less useful each tool is for cracking passwords. In the past, most recommendations for password security revolved around making sure your password wasn’t something predictable, such as “password” or your birthday. With today’s (and tomorrows) GPUs, this may no longer be enough.

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Command line video processing using FOSS

[Daniel Paluska] is getting away from the point-and-click by editing videos from the command line. Using the free open source software packages FFmpeg, Imagemagick, and Sox he produces new clips from multiple videos with effects like overlaying, slicing, and assigning each video to a different quadrant. The last option would be useful for displaying different angled shots of the same thing all at once but we’re sure you can find a way to use them all. He is using shell scripts to automate some of the process but the commands are still easy enough to understand if this is your first foray into these tools. After all, great video production will go a long way toward becoming an Internet sensation.

3D Magnetometer mouse in processing

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[etgalim] works in Solidworks extensively and wanted a more intuitive way of rotating objects onscreen. To do this, he created a mouse that responds to rotation. He put a 3D compass module inside an old mouse and wired it up to an Arduino. The Arduino then relays the I2C sensor data to the computer. So far, he has a Processing script that uses the mouse to rotate a cube, but eventually he wants to write a Solidworks plugin. It’s a bit shaky, and we think it would be a bit smoother (and cheaper) if he used gyros like the jedipad. Video after the jump.

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Barcode scanner in Processing

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Reader [Nikolaus] decided that instead of using an existing image based bar code decoder, he would write his own. Using the Processing language he created a scanner that parsed the black and white pattern when a bar code was centered on the image. His code then parsed that data and compared it with the initializing character to provide a reference. Currently his scanner supports three character sets of the Code 128 encoding, and provided his complete code so that others could add as they see fit. He admits that the code is a bit messy due to the lengthy character tables, but very straight forward.

Remote image processing in JavaScript

[Tom] wrote in to tell us about his JavaScript project for motion detection. It ties together two ideas we’ve talked about recently. The first is doing image processing in-browser using Canvas(), which we’ve seen employed in captcha breaking. The second is offloading heavy processing to browsers, which we saw recently in the MapReduce implementation. [Tom] is using JavaScript to compare consecutive images to determine if there’s any motion. He did this as part of MJPG-Streamer, a program for streaming images from webcams. It can run on very limited hardware, but image processing can be very intensive. Doing the image processing in-browser makes up for this limitation and means that a custom client program doesn’t have to be written. You can find the code here and a PDF about the proof of concept.