Creative Kinect hacking

When Microsoft’s new motion-capture sensor for the Xbox 360 brought Minority Report-style control to the living rooms of delighted gamers in late 2010, it took things up a notch. Once confined to big-budget studios, academia and the military, motion capture technology was finally at everyone’s fingertips.

“The Kinect is a very special device,” enthuses Memo Akten, a Turkish-born, London-based visual artist, director and musician whose clients include Coca-Cola, Google and Sony PlayStation. “What it brings to the world of computer vision isn’t technically new, but it’s an awful lot cheaper than its predecessors, with comparable – if not better – quality.”

Akten has years of experience at the cross-section of art and technology. “Now kids all over the world can play with cheap DIY 3D scanning, point cloud extraction – even rough motion capture,” he continues, picking out several applications that have caught his eye – from gesture-controlled quadcopters to abstract visual interpretations of dance. “By reducing the technical entry point, the Kinect has levelled the playing field and allowed a lot more creative experiments to surface.”

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