Posts Tagged ‘Kinect’

Kinect technology creates your own 3D action figure

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Be Your Own Souvenir! from blablabLAB on Vimeo.

This “Be Your Own Souvenir!” was a project run in January in the Catalan capital that let people do their best super pose and have a 3D printer recreate their likeness into a small little figure.

The computer takes pictures with three Kinect cameras while plugged into a network of programs that could take the person’s image in 3D, convert it into the necessary code and then have the 3D printer spit you out as your limited action figure.

I would want to get myself done in a regular “cool guy” version, a limited “I was riding on the back of a girl and fell and broke my femur” version, and the ultra rare “drunk as a skunk with my pants on the ground” version.

Attend any of our BG functions and you could get to see one of these three in person. No really.


Ready to ‘Wipeout’ on the Kinect?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Try this from your futon.

Try this from your futon.

(Gamespot) – For many Kinect games, the ability to sidestep self-consciousness is one of the hardest parts to master. However, making a fool of oneself is the primary draw for Activision’s latest Kinect title, as the publisher announced today that it has teamed with ABC to bring the face-plant-prone reality show Wipeout to the Xbox 360 this summer.

Wipeout in the Zone mimics the absurd obstacle courses of its TV inspiration, and players will be challenged with working their way through the show’s challenges by running, ducking, and dodging. Of course, failure is an inevitable and frequent outcome, and players will be treated to visuals of their inglorious digital destruction.

Players will be challenged by more than 30 obstacles, which can be undertaken in one shot or as individual events. Obstacles explicitly called out today include Big Balls and the Smack Wall Sweeper. The game will also include audio commentary from the show’s hosts: John Anderson, John Henson, and Jill Wagner.

Twisted Pixel’s Gunstringer, all strings attached.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Twisted Pixel Games Discusses Origins of Their New Marionette-Based Title

(Press Release Austin, TX) – “Puppets are just something I’ve always loved,” says Michael Wilford, CEO of Twisted Pixel Games and closeted marionette aficionado. “What makes games great is that they are such a collaborative process. I have over three hundred puppets in my basement, and Bill Muehl, our Game Director, collects Western landscape photography. Oh, and of course we have Dan Teasdale, our Design Lead, whose family was brutally murdered by drug lords when he was a child, and who’s been on a mission of vengeance ever since.”

Originally conceived as an Oregon Trail – style singalong, design decisions throughout the project gradually axed all those elements in favor of the single minded pursuit of revenge by a soulless puppet. Bill recalls, “I tried to bring up compromise with Dan a couple times, but he’d just start fingering that necklace made out of the ears of his slain enemies and stare out into the distance. At that point I’d just mumble something and back away.”

The player controls a marionette named the Gunstringer using Kinect’s unique motion-based controls. The epic tale of the lonely gunman unfolds across
several acts, each performance taking place in a hand-crafted environment. The Gunstringer has several weapons at his disposal, each tool of vengeance
unleashed through the player’s gestures. The game’s lavish production features over thirty characters and countless animations.

Additional information about The Gunstringer can be found at The site features information about the game, the release trailer, and our developer’s blog, covering thoughts from the team as their work progresses.

The Gunstringer is expected to be completed in 2011. Dan’s quest to temper the pain in his soul with violence has not yet been given an end date.

Microsoft’s Kinect could assist in your next surgery

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

UW students adapt gaming hardware for robotic surgery

(The Daily) – A group of graduate engineering students have adapted Microsoft’s new Kinect technology for a surprising purpose: surgical robotics.

The method involves using the Kinect (an array of cameras and sensors that allow video-game users to control their Xbox 360s with their bodies) to give surgeons force feedback when using tools to perform robotic surgery.

“For robotics-assisted surgeries, the surgeon has no sense of touch right now,” said Howard Chizeck, UW professor of electrical engineering. “What we’re doing is using that sense of touch to give information to the surgeon, like ‘You don’t want to go here.’”

Currently, surgeons commonly use robotic tools for minimally invasive surgeries. Tubes with remotely controlled surgical instruments on the ends are inserted into the patient in order to minimize scarring. Surgeons control the instruments with input devices that resemble complex joysticks, and use tiny cameras in the tubes to see inside the patient.

The problem is, however, that surgeons have no realistic way to feel what they are doing. If they move a surgical instrument into something solid, the instrument will stop but the joystick will keep moving.

Electrical engineering graduate student Fredrik Ryden solved this problem by writing code that allowed the Kinect to map and react to environments in three dimensions, and send spatial information about that environment back to the user.

This places electronic restrictions on where the tool can be moved; if the actual instrument hits a bone, the joystick that controls it stops moving. If the instrument moves along a bone, the joystick follows the same path. It is even possible to define off-limits areas to protect vital organs.

“We could define basically a force field around, say, a liver,” said Chizeck. “If the surgeon got too close, he would run into that force field and it would protect the object he didn’t want to cut.”

At first it was suggested that presurgery CT scans be used to define these regions. However, Howard’s group came up with the idea of using a “depth camera,” a sensor that detects movement in three dimensions by measuring reflecting infrared radiation to automatically define those regions. At a meeting on a Friday afternoon in December, a team member suggested using the newly released Kinect.

“It’s really good for demonstration because it’s so low-cost, and because it’s really accessible,” Ryden, who designed the system during one weekend, said. “You already have drivers, and you can just go in there and grab the data. It’s really easy to do fast prototyping because Microsoft’s already built everything.”

Before the idea to use a Kinect, a similar system would have cost around $50,000, Chizeck said.

[Full article here at]

My Kinect freaks me out…

Monday, December 27th, 2010

It's watching you...

I’ll admit it. I fell for the advertising and the hype and asked for a Kinect for Christmas.

I’m a sucker for new technology and even with some of the bad reports I’ve heard in regards to the functionality of the Kinect, I just had to see the tech for myself. I was impressed with some of the things I’ve heard and seen with the Playstation Move but I just can’t get around the fact that the damn thing looks like a cross between a sex toy and a Blow Pop. I’ve tried and I just can’t do it. Every time I hold the Move, I feel dirty. But the Kinect… here’s a device that requires no additional equipment and looks pretty damn cool sitting in front of my TV. At least it looked cool until the first time I powered it on.

The best way I could set up the Kinect without buying any additional equipment was to place it on the entertainment center in front of my TV which puts it a little over two feet off of the ground. The first time I turned it on, the damn thing figured out where my hands were and then began to move.

No, it didn’t jump off of the center and start following me around but after it determined where my face *should* be, the whole damn thing looked me up and down with its three lifeless “eyes”. Once it had established how tall I was, it adjusted to the optimal view where both my hands and face were in frame while I stood approximately four feet from the device.

When I fired up the included game just to see what the Kinect could do, my Xbox advised me that I needed to move further back in order to have enough room to play. The fact that it knew I was standing less than six feet away is impressive in and of itself but that it knew when I was exactly six feet away basically disturbed me.

That’s when it started moving to make sure I was still perfectly in frame and when I moved back a little further, another quiet adjustment. That’s the bit that creeps me out the most. It’s not just following me with those three little eyes, it’s doing so very quietly and I can’t overcome the feeling that this little robotic “face” is moving to make sure it knows where I am at all times lest I sabotage its efforts to gain control of my home.

I watch it now as it watches me, watching it adjust to where I move in the room, it’s quiet little motor tracking me as I try to see if I can fool it into thinking I’m closer or further than I actually am. And no, I haven’t been able to fool it yet. Then there’s the fact that while I tool around with the “Kinect Adventures” game, the damn thing is taking pictures of me while I play… and captioning them with some scarily accurate descriptions of what I’m doing.

As if the watching wasn’t enough, I start playing with the voice activated menus and discover it is creepily listening to what I say, again with some scary accuracy.

I know it’s just a peripheral. I know it has no plans to kill me while I sleep, mostly only because it lacks the legs to get to my bedroom but as I watch the Kinect watching me, it’s very difficult for me not to associate some degree of sinister sentience to the device.

Maybe that whole Blow Pop sex toy thing isn’t such a bad idea…

Gritskrieg – End of Line

PC ‘Kinect’ open source driver gets okayed.

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Guess you had to have been there...

(Gamestop) – Two weeks ago, an industrious software engineer created open-source drivers which allowed the Kinect camera to be used with a PC. At the time, Microsoft responded with some legal saber-rattling, saying that it would “work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”

Soon thereafter, Microsoft denied that what the engineer did constituted hacking the Kinect at all. That sentiment was echoed on the Science Friday edition of Talk of the Nation by Alex Kipman, director of incubation for Xbox at Microsoft.

“The first thing to talk about is Kinect was not actually hacked,” explained Kipman. “Hacking would mean that someone got to our algorithms that sit on the side of the Xbox and was able to actually use them, which hasn’t happened. Or it means that you put a device between the sensor and the Xbox for means of cheating, which also has not happened. That’s what we call hacking, and that’s why we have put a ton of work and effort to make sure it doesn’t actually occur.”

He continued, “What has happened is someone wrote an open-source driver for PCs that essentially opens the USB connection, which we didn’t protect by design, and reads the inputs from the sensor. The sensor again, as I talked earlier, has eyes and ears and that’s a whole bunch of, you know, noise that someone needs to take and turn into signal.”

When asked if anyone would “get in trouble” for writing such code or finding other uses for the Kinect camera, Kipman had a direct answer: “Nope. Absolutely not.” Indeed, Microsoft Game Studios’ studio manager Shannon Loftis was effusive in her praise of those who had taken Kinect into their own hands for non-gaming applications. One such application saw an MIT grad student hooking up a Kinect to a Roomba-like iRobot that could follow hand commands and scan rooms.

“I’m very excited to see that people are so inspired that it was less than a week after the Kinect came out before they had started creating and thinking about what they could do,” she said.

How’s your real life Sho-Ryu-Ken?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

(Gamespot) – Microsoft’s Kinect has another launch title, and one with a surlier disposition than the family-friendly lineup of fitness and action games already announced. Ubisoft today announced that it will launch Fighters Uncaged exclusively for the Xbox 360′s motion-sensing camera peripheral worldwide this November.

Developed by upstart AMA Studios, Fighters Uncaged pits players against a roster of a dozen underground fighters, allowing them to punch, kick, and yell to trigger 70 different attacks, combos, and super strikes. The game will feature three different leagues to conquer, upgradeable character skills, and 21 different environments in which to brawl. The game also includes a multiplayer mode allowing friends to virtually pummel one another, a tutorial mode to bring players up to speed, and novice and pro control schemes.

Based in Belgium, AMA Studios is a subsidiary of Ubisoft sister company Advanced Mobile Applications. It was founded last year with a focus on “creating AAA console games that redefine the way players control their in-game.

Get Kinect-ed.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

(Reuters) – Microsoft will sell its new Kinect motion-sensing gaming system for about $150 and also offer it in a package with the Xbox 360 videogame console when sales of the hands-free device start in November, the company said on Tuesday.

The price, omitted by Microsoft when it introduced Kinect at the E3 videogame conference in June, matches the preorder price that retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop and posted online weeks ago.

Kinect sales start on November 4, and Microsoft is sure to aim its marketing message at the owners of the more than 40 million Xbox 360 models that have already been sold. The sensor hardware will include a game, called “Kinect Adventures.”

Kinect’s camera-based system lets players control games with body and hand gestures and is seen as a means to spark sales momentum into the Xbox platform before the holiday season. The hopes are that it will lure new and casual players to the Xbox and steal customers from the rival Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3.

It remains to be seen if cost-conscious consumers and game fans, many of whom have already bought one or more of the consoles, will warm to the idea of spending hundreds more on new hardware, and Kinect-specific software that will cost about $50.