Kinect Depth Map As Depth of Field Input

This must have been done already, but I wanted to try it.

Some artifacts on edges due to lower resolution of Kinect and occlusion caused by only one angle, but not too shabby! I could temporally smooth and filter the data over a coupe frames to clean it up I think.

I can see this being used for plenty of things, like instant depth mattes sans green screen, post fog effects (could easily be real-time effects too).

I recorded the color and depth streams as video using Brekel toolkit (lots of free stuff out there for this), then brought them into after effects and used the gray-scale depth image as a mask for blur effect on the color image.

Enjoy me looking like a dork! :D

Virtual Mocap Stage Viewing Room

A test setup of our virtual overlay window in FIEAs mocap stage. This was a quick test utilizing an effect called “Peppers Ghost”. I’m just projecting the 3D view onto a wall behind the viewer. The reflection shows up in the glass door window as an overlay on the real stage.

Great for playback and director review in the space.

Thanks to nhAnimOnline (YouTube username) for the test horse animation.

Simulated 3D Tabletop Viewer

In the mocap studio using Maya and Ikinema Realtime mocap data stream to update a flat image and simulate three dimensionality from the perspective of the viewer or video camera, which is being tracked by the Vicon system.

Basically an expensive version of Jonny Lees Wiimote user tracking demo, but on a flat table.

Can be used to play rts games, view maps and city layouts or even cheap glasses-free medical or industrial training.

I just want to make a real time version of table top Operation! :)

Replacing LCD Backlight with Sunlight

An hour long test. Not bad. This could be an addition to regular LED back-lighting in displays potentially. A constant intensity monitor would have to adjust the LEDs to compensate for the sunlight’s inconsistency.

I envision a roof top covered in small lenses which collect the sun and direct it various parts of the house. One could even charge solar electronics with it where there is no sunlight.

Or… we can just wait for OLED to become mainstream. :)

Many downfalls of this as a potential real-world light source:

1. Light changes intensity and color throughout the day, would need to compensate in LCD or with LEDs in display.

2. A focusing lense is needed even for this small display. It would have to track the suns position for optimum light pick-up.

3. Heat could be an issue. Use a cold filter?

4. Fiber optic cable is expensive. This forty feet cost $24 at a bulk dicount store. Larger versions would be costly.

5. No local dimming allowed with this, as newer sets have for increased contrast ratios.

There are others, but this was a quick fun test. Feel free to rip it apart! :D

iPhone Garage Door Opener


My garage opener remote recently passed away with very little notice. This was frustrating because I make it clear to any electronics I adopt that they are to give me ample warning if they are on their way out. No such luck. This remote was a rebel and certainly not a gentleman.

I needed a replacement, naturally. Universal remotes are fine, but there are a few limitations which I’m not keen on:

1. Limited range. I have to be within 50 feet or so of my house to use them. What if I want to let a family member in who is locked out in the frigid 90 degree Florida weather, or open the house for the dog walker (if I had a dog walker), or make all of my belongings available to the crooks who live in my neighborhood for insurance fraud purposes? Right.

2. Remote batteries die. I don’t like death. It makes me uncomfortable. iPhone can be recharged anywhere and everywhere, even in the car (imagine that!)

3. Why carry more devices around than necessary? These smart phones are pretty damn smart these days. They should be doing more for us, like massages and walking our dogs. Also, opening our garages or other entry-ways. Plus garage remotes weigh about 45 lbs. Not cool.

4. Physical buttons are a point of failure. Chances are, I’ll have to replace an old-school garage remote again after a few million uses. Who needs that kind of uncertainty in their life? No sir, a capacitive (really spell check, “capacitive” is not in your dictionary in this modern age?) touch screen is superior in my book! Dare I say it has billions of touches in store before the glass wears through and liquid crystal toxins seep into my fingers!


Six Camera Automated Face Scanner


I was recently asked to build “something fun” for a science museum event.

Since I was already waist deep in the world of photogrammetry at work (the reconstruction of 3D data from photographs), I decided to build a camera rig for capturing the faces of the visitors (mostly kids). Now if you have kids, or have ever seen a kid on TV, you know that they very rarely sit still for more than 0.25 seconds unless they are sleeping or in an Elmo-induced hypnotic trance… though even that lasts for only about 0.58 seconds. How then, can kids be photographed from multiple angles simultaneously?

Hmm… we could get a super high speed camera (let’s say 10,000 frames per second), put the child on a stool in front of the camera and spin him really fast! Surely we’ll get at least a few useable angles with high similarity and no vomit. The parents have an issue with that? Whatever! Little Johnny will almost certainly experience much worse, likely self-inflicted scenarios.

Fine, next idea: Purchase 6 cheap-wad digital cameras and wire them up to one trigger button. That’s it! Simple and obvious!