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first_imgIt’s been well established by now that the Microsoft Kinect device is an incredibly versatile piece of hardware. With the ability to write custom code for the peripheral by using the SDK Redmond has made available, we’ve seen several novel ideas on how to use the 3D camera device for purposes other than video gaming. The latest example of this is a new project shown in the video above called the V Motion Project, in which a group of programmers join forces with dancers and electronic music artists to create an impressive body-controlled musical instrument. While this may not seem incredibly unique, the fact that the team created a way to use two Kinects at the same time makes it unusual.Created and developed as part of an advertising campaign for an energy drink company, the V Motion project was started to create a machine that turns motion into music. Specifically the group wanted a musician/dancer to be able to control a popular piece of music software called Abelton Live with just their body, a task that was easier said than done. Using some open source software for the Kinect that the development team made heavy modifications to, the creative group found that they indeed could achieve their motion control goals but at a price; the amount of data they were crunching per second was causing some significant lag.The single Kinect device and computer was getting bogged down as it was trying to process the position of each joint in a person’s skeleton some thirty-times-a-second. That in addition to trying to process the image data was simply too much for the hardware. When the musician tried to activate a drum beat, there was a several second gap that was painfully obvious. Considering that the end goal was to have a dancer give a musical performance with their moves, this was somewhat counter productive.To lighten the load, the team made the decision to employ a second Kinect device and computer which brought with it a whole new set of problems. Namely the fact that when you put two Kinects in the same room trying to measure the same space you end up with some significant interference and artifacts in the depth data that each of them picks up. Each device throws a pattern of infrared dots to detect objects in a piece of space, when you have more than one field of dots the devices get “confused” since they are seeing more dots than usually. This causes all sorts of glitches that also would not be conducive to create a motion based musical instrument. So how did the V Motion team solve this problem? By creating a small motor to “wiggle” one of the Kinects.The team found that if they made one of the cameras stable while putting the other in motion this allowed them to ignore each other’s dot field, giving them the smooth control they were seeking. A member of the team built a small battery-operated wiggling device out of a model car kit, which is pictured below.As you saw in the video at the top of the article, the group definitely succeeded in creating an amazing motion controlled musical instrument for performance DJ’s and musicians. The complexity of the controls are evident and if you’ve had some experience with Abelton Live, you’re probably aware that controlling all the bells whistles of that program with your body is a feat in itself.Read more at Custom Logic, via the V Motion Vimeo page.last_img read more