You didn't think the enthusiasm for hacking the Kinect to make it do variously useful and silly things was going to end after two weeks, did you? It's just going to get better, so let's recap with two of the coolest new hacks. One makes you invisible, and one gives you the power of a certain mustachioed plumber.
First off: invisibility, one of our favorite topics. Takayuki Fukatsu posted a video showing the Kinect's "optical camouflage" he built with OpenFrameworks, a widely-used open-source coding toolkit. He doesn't really describe how it works, though it's a pretty safe bet that it's a simple-ish filter that removes his body from the frame and replaces it with the image behind it, taken beforehand. Of course, it's doing it in real time, which is pretty impressive. (Note: The video is seven minutes long and doesn't really have to be--you get the idea after a couple minutes.)
The uses for an invisibility filter seem kind of limited to me--maybe in a game (Metal Gear Solid comes to mind) it could help with sneaking around, but it's mostly just a cool demo.
This Mario hack from Yankeyan combined the Kinect's toolkit with a Nintendo emulator. At first, he thought to set up a virtual controller, so moving one hand would simulate the D-pad and the other would "press" the A and B buttons--but, says Yankeyan, "full body gestures were more in the spirit of Kinect." So he set up a full-on virtual Mushroom Kingdom: Jump and Mario jumps, run in place and Mario runs, duck and Mario ducks (or sinks into a pipe). It looks incredibly difficult, not least because the instinct to move back and forth often takes you out of frame, but don't pretend like you don't want to try this right now.
Active Camo FTW!
Interesting effect and all, but this is only camouflage if your opponent's cameras are all kinect sensors.
Wouldn't it be a better idea to project an image onto the human from a PowerPoint projector? Use the Kinect camera to record the background. Then create a digital mask of the body outline and project only the part of the background that fits within the body mask. That way the projector would not project onto the wall, only the person.
To get really complex, color correct for the persons clothing and skin tone, so that the result matches the background.
Of course, the angle of the observer would screw it all up, but from the Kinect's perspective, the person would be rendered invisible. Another Kinect could track the location of the observer, and the computer could make the calculations to properly render the projected image from the viewers perspective. This may require several Kinect/projectors POV's to fully cover the target from multiple angles.
All of which is completely pointless in the true spirit of a great Make.
I wonder if something similar could be done with next-gen security cameras, where a smiley face is overlaid onto my face...
Vampire wannabes are going to love this. Set the screen up to look like a mirror that they aren't visible in. It would be even better if other "non vampires" weren't filtered out.
This kinect isn't only cool, it's game changing. If Microsoft incubates the home-brew projects that are going on right now instead of killing them with their all-to-often seen big business mentality. They just might have a phenomenon on their hands.
I wouldn't hold my breath though.
while it may be pretty good camouflage, you can still where he is, because the distortion is horribly noticeable.