Archive for January, 2011

Blender demo

Posted: January 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

My first laptop can’t run OpenNI properly due to some obscure chipset thing it doesn’t have. I’m bored waiting for my other ‘spare’ laptop to finish installing Ubuntu, so here’s a little Blender physics demo I did a while back. I’d love the time to learn 3D modelling in more detail. Maybe after the Masters is finished…


Gah! Stymied!

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Independent Learning Module, Kinect

Spent several hours trying to get OpenNI working on my Ubuntu laptop, failing every time when compiling the OpenNI libraries. After much research it turns out that OpenNI requires an SSE-capable chipset, and my ancient 1.6GHx Celeron Sony Vaio is one of the only chipsets ever made since 2004 which doesn’t support this.

So until PrimeSense release a modified version of their libraries (which apparently they are thinking of doing) I’ll make no further progress with my laptop.

Back to the Windows 7 PC for the evening, then on to OSX tomorrow.


Posted: January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Freenect simple stream viewers

Simple stream viewer (GL) with VGA and depth streams (no player detection)

Freenect basic 3D mapping

This example maps the VGA stream onto a dynamically-constructed 3D mesh defined by depth points (GL). It isn’t designed to be 1:1 world-realistic, but instead to demonstrate how a virtual reconstruction of the physical world can be achieved. Also it’s very basic and does not attempt any type of interpolation.
W/S to zoom in/out and C to toggle colour. Click and drag model to rotate.
Straight-on view
Same view rotated 45 degrees
Colourless 3D rotation demo

Adventures in Kinect hacking

Posted: January 29, 2011 in Kinect

This semester I have an Independent Learning module and Research methods, then follows the Dissertation. Thankfully my Pathway Leader and Supervisors have been very helpful in enabling me to plan my work such that I can study the history and theory of 3D motion sensing for the ILM and work up a prototype implementation for the Dissertation.

To this end, my research starts now. I’m investigating the capabilities (and potential) of consumer-level solutions, naturally leading me to Microsoft’s novel new Xbox 360 peripheral, Kinect. Today is the first time in two weeks that I’ve had the opportunity to get back to hacking Kinect. My goal is to find all the hacked and official drivers out there and get them working in as many environments as possible, i.e. at least Windows, Mac and Linux.

After this I’ll be looking at the application-layer libraries that are available. Thankfully there’s a burgeoning open-source community writing open-standards-based gesture recognition libraries. But perhaps even better than this, Microsoft have announced that they will be releasing official drivers and libraries for their XNA Game Studio, although a launch date has not yet been given. And best of all, PrimeSense, the company Microsoft commissioned to write the Kinect sensor algorithms, has release much of its Kinect code to the open-source community. They are long-standing experts in gesture recognition and were wise enough, many years ago, to recognise the potential of such hardware-software tie-ups. They architected their software such that it is hardware agnostic. This is great news for us as it means that those big-budget industrial implementations they’ve done over the years will work beautifully with the Kinect. Therefore this immature consumer technology is actually rather mature, well-developed and heavily tested.

So…watch this space. I have various implementations working in Windows and Linux, and will probably attack OSX tomorrow.

Our University Library is brilliant. It has so much stuff that you might not know about – especially eBooks and Journals. They have subscriptions to so many sources it’s mind boggling.

But how do you manage your references in the face of such a wealth of information?

Our University Library also has subscriptions to services such as RefWorks. This tool aims to make managing your references easier than doing so manually. It has the ability to automatically create reference stubs, bibliographies, citations etc.

It could be a really useful thing, but it seems overly complex to me. For example, you have to enter all the elements which make up your reference manually. Ok, so it’s stored semantically in a database, and can be reported on in different manners, but it’s still a manual process for you to input this data initially.

I wonder how this actually improves your referencing over just being fastidious and fully referencing your sources as you go.

So who uses RefWorks or similar tools? Do they really help vs just typing it in Word/Excel/some cloud system? I’m still in two minds as to whether the effort of learning the tool outweighs just being wise and building my references as I find them.

I’m back and raring to go

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Kinect


I’ve never needed a break more than I did over the past few weeks. Time to relax a bit. But now things are ramping up to what I believe might well be the busiest year of my life.

I did ok with my networking assignment, so now on to things that come a little more naturally for me. I have an Independent Learning Module and Research Methods up next. The latter is preparation for my Dissertation, but I think I’ve arranged things so the former kind of is too.

I’m not going to give too much away at the moment, but let me just say this..

No, wait…you’re too far away. Come a bit closer. No, closer. Hey, look, I’m gesturing to you in a three-dimensional, space-aware, full-body-tracking kind of way. Ah, that’s better. Oh. I forgot what I was going to say. Never mind.

Check back soon ;)