Amazing 3d telepresence system

encumberance_free_telepresence_kinect

It looks like the world of Kinect hacks is about to get a bit more interesting.

While many of the Kinect-based projects we see use one or two units, this 3D telepresence system developed by UNC Chapel Hill student [Andrew Maimone] under the guidance of [Henry Fuchs] has them all beat.

The setup uses up to four Kinect sensors in a single endpoint, capturing images from various angles before they are processed using GPU-accelerated filters. The video captured by the cameras is processed in a series of steps, filling holes and adjusting colors to create a mesh image. Once the video streams have been processed, they are overlaid with one another to form a complete 3D image.

The result is an awesome real-time 3D rendering of the subject and surrounding room that reminds us of this papercraft costume. The 3D video can be viewed at a remote station which uses a Kinect sensor to track your eye movements, altering the video feed’s perspective accordingly. The telepresence system also offers the ability to add in non-existent objects, making it a great tool for remote technology demonstrations and the like.

Check out the video below to see a thorough walkthrough of this 3D telepresence system.

[Read more...]

Real-time digital puppetry

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If it sometimes seems that there is only a finite amount of things you can do with your kids, have you ever considered making movies? We don’t mean taking home videos – we’re talking about making actual movies where your kids can orchestrate the action and be the indirect stars of the show.

Maker [Friedrich Kirchner] has been working on an application called MovieSandbox, which is an open-source realtime animation tool. A couple of years in the making, the project is cross-platform compatible on both Windows and Apple computers (with Linux in the works), making it accessible to just about everyone.

His most recent example of the software’s power is a simple digital puppet show, which is sure to please young and old alike. Using sock puppets fitted with special flex sensors, he is able to control his on-screen cartoon characters by simply moving his puppets’ “mouths”. An Arduino is used to pass the sensor data to his software, while also allowing him to dynamically switch camera angles with a series of buttons.

Obviously something like this requires a bit of configuration in advance, but given a bit of time we imagine it would be pretty easy to set up a digital puppet stage that will keep your kids happily occupied for hours on end.

Continue reading to see a quick video of his sock puppet theater in action.

[via Make]

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Art installation lets you be your own Souvenir

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The team at [blablabLAB] have been hard at work on their latest project, which they unleashed on the streets of Barcelona in the La Rambla pedestrian mall. Their art installation allows you to pose in the middle of the mall and receive a plastic statue of yourself as a souvenir.

Not unlike the “Fabricate Yourself” installation we saw a short time ago, this project also uses the Kinect to create a 3D representation of the subject, though it uses three separate sensors rather than just one. Each sensor is positioned around a centralized platform, creating a complete 3D model, which is then sent to a RapMan 3D printer stationed nearby.

Each user is then gifted a plastic representation of themselves to take home – it’s almost like an interactive human Mold-A-Rama. While the figures are neat, it would be great to see what sorts of plastic statues could be made using a higher resolution 3D printer like the one we featured a week ago.

Check out the video below to see the souvenir printer in action.

[Read more...]

Hackaday Links: March 22, 2011

3D holographic fog display

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Some researchers in Japan are hard at work building a 3D volumetric fog display that would allow you to live out some of your Leia-related Star Wars fantasies. Using a column of fog and three projectors, they were able to create a display that looks three-dimensional from any angle. It might be a while before the technology hits your living room, so don’t clear your calendar just yet, Obi Wan. [via Neatorama]

The Claw – a three-fingered robotic gripper

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Instructables user [AntMan] has been hard at work revising his robotic claw gripping mechanism. Laser cut from wood, this servo-driven claw can easily grasp small objects with little effort. We can’t wait to see someone build a version from milled aluminum!

Ben Heck’s retro Xbox 360

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[Ben Heck] is at it again, and has recently given the Xbox 360 a sweet retro makeover. Taking inspiration from gaming consoles of the 70’s, he converted an Xbox 360 into a laptop-style portable (again), but this time with the look and feel of an old Atari 2600. Retro gamers rejoice, you can now get your Xbox on while enjoying the sweet simulated wood-grain you grew up with.

Rocket-based ice fishing notification system

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What fun is ice fishing if you have to sit outside freezing your butt off? We’re assuming that was the driving thought behind [Mike's] rocket-based ice fishing rig. A model rocket is attached to his fishing sledge, which is triggered when a fish is detected on the line. Using a low-tech detonator, the rocket lets him know it’s time to check the lines. Now only if we could get the fish to fillet themselves…

Case modding video series hits the web

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The “Mod Men” is a fairly new web series that takes you out of the basement and into the garage for some professionally constructed case mods. Described as “American Chopper for geeks with a dash of This Old House”, the creators aim to showcase over-the-top case mods with a professional flair. They already have three episodes under their belt, all of which are available on their site.

Nintendo 3DS Teardown

The Nintendo 3DS has been out for a couple days now (in japan) and the folks over at [tech on] were nice enough to do a teardown. Besides all the regular teardown goodies you can also get a good look at the 3DS’ 3D screen with a microscope. Turns out its a parallax barrier display which means that there are slits on top of the LED array to create a 3D effect without the use of special glasses. The rest of the hardware seems pretty standard, running an ARM based processor with some DRAM and NAND flash. Apparently the 3DS didn’t get much of an upgrade (downgrade?) as far as DRM is concerned because there are already examples of the 3DS running pirated games using a R4 card on youtube.

[via engaget]

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Eyelid shutter glasses: fake but still a hack

If you’ve been keeping up with our featured stories this year you’ll remember the post about using your own eyelids as 3D shutter glasses. Throngs of commenters called this one as fake and they were right. But we still enjoyed the experience… it’s more fun to be trolled when the trolls are skilled and idea is original. The perpetrators have released a follow-up video that shows how it was done. It’s not just an electronic trinket and some acting. There’s well executed post-production which maps out the area around this gentleman’s eyes and edits in the rhythmic blinking that made the farce somewhat believable. Check it out after the break.

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Thingiverse Receives First DMCA Takedown

A landmark in home 3d printing was set when [Dr. Ulrich Schwanitz] sent a DMCA takedown notice to Thingiverse.com on users [artur83] and [chylld's] takes on his Penrose triangle model. ([chylld's] take is pictured above) While the takedown itself is highly debatable, we do think it’s cool that home 3d printing has come far enough to begin infringing on the copyrights of objects themselves. Right now media pirating has the front stage, but it’s not hard to look a little further into the crazy sci-fi universe that is our future and see a battle being fought over the rights to physical objects.

[via Thingiverse Blog]

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