Week 04 | Tools & Technology #1 | Depth Cameras (Kinect)

Week 04 | Tools & Technology #1 | Depth Cameras (Kinect)

Week 04 | Tools & Technology #1 | Depth Cameras (Kinect) #

Monday, January 30, 2023

We start in Room L208

This week, we are going to dive into the tools and technology we have available for actually creating embodied experiences.

Inspiration #

This week will be our first introduction to working with tracking people and their bodily movements in a space. These are some examples I have been working on previously.

The projects below are from a time before the Kinect existed and these kinds of things were much harder to do. Couple of them use the basic blob tracking technique we will build today.

Animoitu Liike, 2009 #

Mortimer, 2009 #

Mortimer includes some scenes where we used real-time dynamic projection mapping. This was achieved using infrared camera and LEDs.

Mortimer Full Performance

Giants of the Hoods, 2010 #

Giants of the Hoods was a project where we went to different neighborhoods in Helsinki and Espoo and projected real-time animations on the facades of buildings. The characters were controlled by people dancing

People were also able to have themselves photographed and they could decide which part of their body they would lioke to donate to the “Giant” projected on the wall. The character basically ended up being a collage of the people who participated.

This was based on a similar setup used in the Reverse Shadow Theatre and used the Animata software.

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Animoitu Liike, 2011 #

After the original Kinect was released, new experimental projects popped into existence everyday. This is my update on the Animoitu Liike project.

AHNE, 2011 #

Ahne was a research project created in the SOPI research group. It started out as an exploration to create spatial interface that would not have any visual feedback. The only feedback would be sound and haptics. The user would wear a glove that had a haptic feedback motor and wireless sensors.

Kinect and Other Depth Cameras #

Before you do anything, make sure that TouchDesigner is able to launch properly and the Educational license is found.

Example Created in Class: Blob Tracking with Azure Kinect #

This examples shows you how to work with the Azure Kinect and blob tracking. This way of doing tracking on the image does not rely on the Kinect’s skeleton tracking algorithms and the same results could be achieved with other depth cameras, or even color or infrared cameras as long as you are able to control the lighting of your environment.

Setup #

Unfortunately, we have “only” 10 Azure Kinects at Aalto Takeout and additional two devices from Matti. This means that all of you cannot work with them at the same time.

You can download a short image sequence capture I made using the Azure Kinect:

Download the image sequence

This will allow you to complete the example we work on today during class. Unfortunately, all of the more advanced examples require you to actually have the device itself.

How to load the image sequence to your project:

  1. Firstly, download the folder and unzip it.
  2. Create a new TouchDesigner project and ssave it to a specific folder.
  3. Drag the kinectsample folder to your project folder.
  4. Add a Movie File In TOP to your project.
  5. Type kinectsampleto the File propert in the properties window of the Movie File In TOP.
  6. Turn on the Playtoggle.
  7. Set the Speedto 30.

Now you should have the short capture of me moving in front of the Kinect. You can use this as your source instead of the real-time capture from the actual Azure Kinect device.

Video Tutorial #

We will build this entire project together in class, but you can also follow this tutorial if you missed something.

More Advanced Techniques #

See the tutorials here for more advanced techniques. We will cover other techniques in Period IV.

Other Tools #

We will come back to some of these in later classes, but feel free to explore some possibilities on your own.

  • Mediapipe is a collection of cross-platform Machine Learning solutions for detecting faces, hands, body positions etc. Works quite well inside TouchDesigner.