Kinect hack using libfreenect, openCV creates awesome shadow puppet

As most of you who aren’t living under a rock know, Microsoft’s Gesture Recognition based XBox extension called Kinect is a huge hit. And I’m not just talking for the Xbox owners or gamers.

This device has been in awe amongst a lot of geeks as well. This may well be because of open source hardware vendor Adafruit putting up a bounty of $2,000 for building open source drivers for Kinect. Or maybe the fact that it was actually hacked just as soon as this bounty was announced.

In any case, take a look at Kinect’s official promo video and you can’t deny the fact that this gadget has some serious potential.

For instance, as soon as libfreenect was released, Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson , went on the create a shadow-puppet like you’ve never seen before.

Using libfreenect, openFrameworks , openCV and Kinect, this duo has created a spectacular version of the age-old shadow puppet that will knock your socks off you.

Enough said. Take a look at the video.

Interactive Puppet Prototype with Xbox Kinect from Theo Watson on Vimeo.

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Microsoft pledges

In what is called as a “bold” move, Microsoft announced strategic changes in Technology and Business practices to expand interoperability.

Microsoft
Microsoft

With this end in view, it plan’s to take serious action on the following four fronts :

1. Ensuring Open Connections : Microsoft will publish on its website documentation for all APIs and communication protocols for it’s high-volume products that are used by other Microsoft products. Developers can access this information freely and thus ensure that their products can connect to Microsoft’s high-volume products (like Windows Vista, Office 2007, Sharepoint, etc.)

2.Support industry standards : Microsoft will work with implementors of standards that it has used in it’s high-volume products , towards achieving robust, consistent and interoperable implementations.These will be documented and published on the their website free of cost , as well.

3. Data Portability : Microsoft will work towards giving users the choice for document formats and have APIs in Office 2007 to set these formats as default for all their applications .

4. Fostering community participation : Microsoft will extend and ongoing dialogue with customers, developers, industry as well as open source communities to promote interoperability.

Windows

Microsoft has already launched the Microsoft Interoperability portal with a view of promoting it’s new pledges.

Quite frankly, I find this whole affair a bit dubious. Microsoft has made similar claims before, only to point fingers later at Linux users for patent violations.

What do you guys think ?

Will Microsoft pull this one off ?

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Yahoo Officially Rejects Microsoft’s bid

I missed blogging about Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to acquire Yahoo. But since it was covered by most of the Tech blogs anyway and more importantly, since Iron Maiden does not start a world tour from a city near you often, I don’t feel too bad for the readers of my blog.

But here’s a post claiming Yahoo’s rejection of Microsoft’s offer, complete with Yang’s mail to “Yahoos” .

I personally thought Yahoo took a bit too long to respond to Microsoft’s offer. Yahoo can clearly make a good come back and redeem themselves in the Internet’s rat race. It has some great engineers and all they have to do is focus on innovation and not concentrate on defeating Microsoft or Google.

But, I think Microsoft will definitely come back with a counter-offer. They will not take NO for an answer this easily. But thats just my 2 cents. What do you feel Microsoft will do ?

More importantly, what do you thinkĀ  should be Yahoo’s next move ?

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