With Apple's PrimeSense Acquisition, Shifting Landscape in Depth Sensing, Motion Art

It wasn’t so long ago that point-and-shoot cameras were big, dedicated affairs. Now, camera sensors are everywhere. What’s next? Expect depth-sensing cameras like the Kinect’s to become as ubiquitous as camera sensors are in phones. And don’t listen to the analysts: if Apple is buying PrimeSense, they’re thinking iPhone, not only their Apple TV “hobby.” The news for the open source art hacking community using this stuff? Bad. And good. But… more on that in a bit. With touch staked out as input method, vision and, more broadly, “perceptual computing” seem poised to reshape the way we interact with devices. …

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The Magic of the New Kinect is in the Hardware; Great Reading on the Specifics

After years of frustration with computer vision on general-purpose computers, the upcoming second-generation Kinect sensor really does begin to look like a breakthrough. And that breakthrough happens inside the hardware design, a System on a Chip that yields high performance data transfers that simply aren’t possible on the laptop in front of you. The site SemiAccurate has taken it upon themselves to look at those particulars. It’s worth going back and reading their whole series on the hardware, actually, even before they get into how vision works on the platform, if you’re fascinated by such things. But their latest article …

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Microsoft Embraces Open, Creative Coding: New Kinect openFrameworks, Cinder Integration

It’s not overstatement: the Kinect has changed vision on computers. It’s made a range of techniques more accessible and affordable, it’s spread what were once laboratory ideas into millions of homes, and it has gathered a swath of artists and inventors to using vision who never had before. But in the process, that open source world has changed Kinect – and Microsoft. No more do we need a bounty to hack Kinect. Now, Microsoft and the open source community can work together. Microsoft Open Tech is now embracing openFrameworks and Cinder, two fully open-source frameworks for creative coders and artists:

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Some Easy Ways to Get Kinect Controlling Music, Visuals on Mac and Windows

While we wait for Microsoft to send the new Kinect – yes, we’re on the list for one here at CDM HQ – there’s still plenty to be done with the current generation of Kinect. And it’s likely that you’ll find even more of these on the cheap when there’s new hardware out there. The problem is, apart from using Microsoft’s prescribed development tools on Windows, working with Kinect can be a bit tricky. What if you want to plug in a Kinect and play around quickly to try some possibilities? Or what if you want to work with collaborators …

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New Kinect Windows SDK Coming; Microsoft Opens Up Pre-release Developer Access [Timeline]

Whatever is going on in the new Kinect Microsoft unveiled recently, it’s doing more than its predecessor. It appears vastly more precise, smarter about telling people from objects, better at telling people from other people, and more responsive to gestures. And there’s another difference: this time, at last, Microsoft appears to be hitting the ground running. Caught flat-footed by the interest of innovative developers and artists in the original Kinect, Microsoft has only recently managed to get their SDK in a state that could rival efforts by hackers and sensor developer PrimeSense. The official Windows sensor, at least, is now …

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Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …

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New Kinect Gets Closer to Your Body [Videos, Links]

It’s a new world for media artists, one in which we look to the latest game console news because it impacts our art-making tools. And so it is that, along with a new Xbox, Microsoft has a new Kinect. The new Kinect uses standard infrared tracking (ideal for in-the-dark footage and accurate tracking), but also returns RGB imagery. It’s 1080p, 30-60 fps (it seems tracking is at 30 fps and video at 60, but I’m reading conflicting reports). Hands-on reports say latency is reduced. If the finished product is consistent with rumors, that could be owing to more in-hardware tracking …

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Music Developer on Windows 8: A Leap Forward for Desktops; A Leap Backward for Metro, WinRT?

Steven Sinofsky showing Windows 8 last year. Photo (CC-BY) BUILDWindows. There’s good news and bad news on Windows 8 for music making. If you’re using Windows on a conventional, Intel PC, running conventional, desktop Windows apps, the news is really all good – really good. It’s still early days, but Windows 8 promises to be better than Windows 7 at audio performance metrics across the board, a no-brainer sort of upgrade for music makers. By contrast, if you’re using Windows 8 on a new ARM-based tablet or interested in seeing music apps that take advantage of the new-fangled store and …

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Microsoft Unveils Two Surface Tablets, But Questions Abound: Will They Hold a Tune?

The iPad has proven a tablet can be a powerful tool for music. It’s also been mostly alone. Android-powered tablets have suffered from lackluster audio performance. Compound that with low popularity in the marketplace and fragmented OS updates, and the platform has largely scared music developers away. Android devices also lack the richness of the iPad’s hardware accessory support, with multi-pin ports that lie dormant, giving accessory makers insufficient capabilities. Windows-powered tablets thus far show some promise, but absent high-quality multi-touch input or thinner form factors, they’ve also been a non-starter. It’s unclear whether it’ll change the situation, but at …

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Interaction in Thin Air: New Research from Microsoft, MIT Uses Magnets, Sound, Space

With multi-touch fully exploited and the basics of camera vision largely understood, interaction moves to the realm of free space, “augmenting” your world with gestures that find some physical connection. They surprise by working in some way that seems intuitive and natural, somewhere away from what seems to be the realm of the computer. And early in the month of May, we see a flurry of new research in just this area. Not one but two projects from Microsoft hold potential, and one from MIT Media Lab is just … absurdly cool. A summary: “Levitated Interaction Element,” out of the …

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