Watch Hackers Make 3D More Expressive and Futuristic – Full Art && Code Report

Calibration workshop, demonstrating the gathered energy and brainpower in Pittsburgh last month. Photo by our friend, the extraordinary Kyle McDonald, whose teaching is behind a lot of the creative output here. Microsoft may be running showy ads that show imagined applications of 3D computer vision, but using technology like Microsoft’s own Kinect, hackers are making sci fi reality, right now. Art && Code, held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was an epic gathering of artists and hackers and hackers become artists and artists become hackers. It was an extraordinary convergence of learning and making, workshop and hacklab, technical brain dumps and creative …

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Microsoft, Now Embracing Kinect Hacker Scene?

Microsoft appears to be taking the step some of its rivals – the likes of Sony and Nintendo – failed to do, and that’s to acknowledge that something it made has been re-imagined beyond its original purpose. The above video pretty much says it all. Remember, it might not have been this way. Aside from direct control of the Kinect hardware, the shield of aggressive intellectual property laws in countries like the United States covering reverse engineering, to say nothing of a bucket of patents, Microsoft could easily go after hackers, open source libraries, and creative misuse of their designs. …

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Ten Years into iPod Era, the Big News: Apple’s Dedicated Player Survives

Rocking it old skool… sort of. The iPod Classic, the true successor, ten years on. Photo (CC-BY-ND) Mac User’s Guide. The tenth anniversary of the iPod debut means you’ll find plenty of commentaries on Apple’s iPod and how it has changed music. It’s an issue that’s been talked to death enough, continuously, in the past ten years that I’m literally uncertain there’s more I can say about it. Here’s one good, compact commentary from Daring Fireball, inspired by Macworld’s sharp review from the 2001 debut of the hardware. Instead, let’s consider what hasn’t happened: Apple hasn’t discontinued the standalone iPod, …

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Scanning the Universe in 3D: The Hottest Kinect Video Yet?

This video, featuring research with Kinect RGB “scans” of three-dimensional space, starts out innocently enough. Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera gets pointed at the world, resulting in some very impressive 3D scans. Then you get about halfway through. For my part, at least, I nearly fell out of my chair. By constructing a 3D model out of the world it sees — even with wildly-shaking camera — the project is able to produce virtual 3D versions of things it sees. Add in textures, just after three minutes into the video, and things get really wild. With lighting, even more so. Then, with …

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Microsoft and the WebGL “Threat”: WebGL’s Future, Even on IE, May Still Be Bright

All this power, all this technology, and … yup, we’re making another aquarium. Works for me. As part of WebGL’s ongoing growing pains, Web engineers have gotten into a war of words that finds even some Microsoft engineers squaring off against other Microsoft engineers. Look closely, though, and you’ll see some real progress on making WebGL a wider reality – and, behind the headlines, promise we may still see it in Microsoft’s flagship browser. In a recent, widely-disseminated post, Microsoft’s security engineering blog recently called WebGL “harmful.” The post didn’t mince words, referring to two reports by Context Information Security, …

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Microsoft and the WebGL "Threat": WebGL's Future, Even on IE, May Still Be Bright

All this power, all this technology, and … yup, we’re making another aquarium. Works for me. As part of WebGL’s ongoing growing pains, Web engineers have gotten into a war of words that finds even some Microsoft engineers squaring off against other Microsoft engineers. Look closely, though, and you’ll see some real progress on making WebGL a wider reality – and, behind the headlines, promise we may still see it in Microsoft’s flagship browser. In a recent, widely-disseminated post, Microsoft’s security engineering blog recently called WebGL “harmful.” The post didn’t mince words, referring to two reports by Context Information Security, …

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Touch, Plus Tactile: In Gaming as in Research, Physical Controls Augment Touchscreens

The gaming industry has made their bet, and it’s that touchscreens go better with tactile controls. Might digital musicians reach the same conclusion? A funny thing has happened on the way to the touch era. The vision of a device like the iPad is minimalist to the extreme: an uninterrupted, impossibly-slim metal slate, as impenetrable as some sort of found alien scifi object. The notion is that by reducing physical controls, the software itself comes to the fore. It’s beautiful conceptually … and then you find yourself tapping and stroking a piece of undifferentiated glass. For navigating interfaces – and …

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Sound, the Final Frontier: Audio Collections as Planets in Space, Intelligently Related

Two spacey ways of finding media: music collections, heirarchy, and images of planets in Planetary for iPad, top. Sound and loop collections, “magnetic” relations, algorithmic categorization, and rapid torchlight auditioning in Soundtorch 2.0 for Windows, bottom. If your music and sound collections seem like outwardly-expanding universes, two new tools promise to bring order by representing media as virtual planets and stars. One works on albums and tracks on the iPad; the other uses computer-aided analysis of loops and samples (not just music) on Windows. One will make your eyeballs pop; one might help you manage gigs of samples for a …

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Could You Use a Kinect at Burning Man? Experiments Test the Idea

Kinect hackery is cool, and its principle advantage is in its ability to allow multi-user interaction in space. That is, it’s killer for installations. That would make it a natural for Burning Man-based interactive art. The only problem: fancy Kinect camera, meet desert sandstorm. Open-source Kinect hacker Matt Bell decided not to wait until getting to Burning Man’s intense desert environment to test what could go wrong. Instead, he took the scientific approach, and simulated the issue in the lab. He writes in comments on his video: Lots of people have been thinking of making Kinect-based art at Burning Man. …

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Official Kinect SDK Coming This Spring for Research, on Windows; What Might it Mean?

I’m Superman! Uh… yeah, so there is some appeal to gestural interfaces for 3D navigation, I meant to say. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Open Exhibits; see note below. The absence of an official SDK has hardly discouraged experimentation and innovation with Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera for the Xbox 360. But Microsoft, via their research and strategy officer Craig Mundie, announced today that it would make a non-commercial, research SDK available this spring for Windows, with a commercial version to follow later. Microsoft acknowledges that the research and experimentation communities are already all over their technology, describing “an already vibrant ecosystem of enthusiasts.” So, …

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