Archive for the ‘HCI’ Category


High Performance Touch

September 25, 2012

This one is near and dear to us. If you ask anyone who has ever projected on moving objects, one of the biggest problems is latency. For example, if you project on a moving person, you will see a very noticeable and distracting lag. This problem isn’t just limited to projection, but it’s in many of our everyday electronics, including our mobile phones, cameras and even our beefy desk top computers (ask any experienced gamer if they notice when their weapons are slow to respond to mouse clicks in a first person shooter).

Researchers over in applied sciences at Microsoft used a low latency projector and a series of infrared sensors to simulate highly responsive touch input. If you look carefully, they are actually projecting over head instead of behind the touch screen. The results shown in the video are pretty awesome. I can’t help but imagine a projected digital tattoo that wont go away no matter how fast your move your arm. Look out for more details at the upcoming 2012 UIST conference in October.


KinÊtre: A Novel Way To Bring Computer Animations To Life

August 7, 2012

Microsoft Research presents a really bad-ass way to bring arbitrary objects to life. Essentially you scan an everyday object, then bring bring it to life by moving around your living room. The possibilities for gaming and interactive experiences are endless.



May 18, 2012

Magnetic Levitation for Interaction (from MIT)


Rock Solid Kinect Mount (for Computer Vision)

April 24, 2012

The Kinect sensor does not come equipped with a tripod mounting screw. By now there are 8 million different ways to mount your Kinect to a tripod, your wall or the back of your TV. Unfortunately, they all mount to the bottom of the Kinect (beneath the tilt motor),  leaving the Kinect to jiggle and wiggle like it is listening to “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.”

If you need the Kinect sensor to stay put, say to register it to another camera (e.g. DSLR) or a projector, then you need to get rid of the wiggle.

Our research group has come up with two methods to mount directly to the Kinect.

Disclaimer: Both of these methods involve modifying the Kinect.  You WILL do permanent and irrevocable damage to your Kinect if you continue down this path. We in no way claim that this is safe to yourself, others or your Kinect sensor.

Method 1: (developed by Kevin Karsch, implemented by Rajinder Sodhi)

This is the simplest, easiest and possibly recommended method.

Here we attach a tripod mount directly to the body of the Kinect (instead of the wiggly bottom) with adhesive. For the camera mount, you might be able to buy an adhesive camera mount such as:

EPIC Contoured Adhesive Mount

Kodak 1960806 Action Mount

We were in a time cruch, so we headed out to Radio Shack and bought a cheap tripod:

50″ 4-Section Tripod, Model: TV-1743

We then sawed off the top of the tripod, retrieving only the mount.

This was then glued with expoy directly to the base of the Kinect. Here we attached it to the top of the Kinect, in order to rigidly mount another camera on top. This process would also work to attach a tripod mount to the bottom of the Kinect.

Method 2: (developed by Brett Jones)

Here we use the existing screws holes of the Kinect to rigidly mount to a piece of plexiglass. This is definitely the most robust method, but also the most time consuming and costly (and dangerous?). You will need a sheet of plexiglass (acrylic), some screws, Torx security screwdrivers, a power drill and a power jigsaw. Do not proceed unless you are comfortable with power tools.

First we took off the motor and useless base for the Kinect. We followed the directions on iFixit, up to step 5. This requires purchasing a set of Torx (T6 & T10) security screwdrivers. Basically you remove the protective rubber pad on the base, then open the base using the T6 screwdriver.

We then just cut-off the plastic from the base using some metal clippers. Use scissors, a hacksaw, whatever you can find.

Now we will use the original screw holes to connect to an acryllic (plexiglass base).

Follow steps 6 & 7 on iFixit, to remove the bottom T10 security screws. We went to the local hardware store (Lowes) and bought some longer screws that fit the original holes. The thread count on the screws will not match perfectly, so this will most likely permanently damage the screw holes. (You won’t be able to put everything back together). I don’t remember the exact screws we bought, so just bring in one of the Kinect screws and find one that is the same diameter but longer in length (around 1.5 inches). You will also need matching nuts.

We also need a screw to attach to the tripod. So pick up a 1/4 inch screw that is 1-1.5 inches long with a matching nut.

We then need to cutout a piece of acrylic glass that will serve as a rigid body to attach to. We bought a 1/4 inch thick piece of acrylic glass at Lowes. We roughly measure the size of the Kinect and cut-out a rectangle of acrylic glass. Place the acrylic glass on the bottom on the Kinect and mark the locations of the 6 screw holes. Note where the cord comes out of the bottom on the Kinect. Also note where you would like to mount it to the tripod (taking the center of gravity of your camera-rig into account).

Now with a power drill (and all proper safety equipment) make 6 holes for the screws and one for the 1/4″ tripod screw. Then cutout a hole for the Kinect cord with a drill/jigsaw (it will have to big enough to thread the large USB end through).

Finally, insert the six screws, thread the cord through and screw them into the Kinect. Attach the 1/4″ screw for the tripod mount.

Whalla! Now you have a rock-solid Kinect mount.

Pro-tip: Check out 80/20 which sells a bunch of metal parts that connect with 1/4″ screws and are great for mounting cameras. They call themselves “An industrial erector set.”

Questions? Email me. I’ll update this post with more info.


Update on the Wedge Display @ MSR

February 28, 2012

Steven Bathiche presents a cool update on the wedge display. The wedge display can simultaneously display content and capture camera images of items in front of the display. This really cool technology enables interaction in the air in front of displays.

This is a similar concept to the Bidi screen.


Kinect Fusion

January 19, 2012

An awesome project from the Microsoft Cambridge group looking at creating nice high resolution models of a user’s environment by simply waving the Kinect around the scene.



January 19, 2012

A fun project from Disney Research that explores how users can interact with content collaboratively. They use a custom made hybrid infrared camera and pico projector which can project and sense IR tracking markers. Now we just need some bright pico projectors!