Kinect & Arduino hacked together to create navigation system for the blind

Posted by on March 20th, 2011

From Switched:

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Created by Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz, NAVI (or Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) allows the blind to easily navigate an environment and avoid obstacles with tactile feedback via a vibrating belt, and audio cues delivered over a Bluetooth headset. The Kinect is mounted on a helmet and feeds video and depth data to a laptop worn on the back. The laptop then triggers vibrations in the Arduino-controlled belt to alert the wearer to nearby obstacles, and announces directions and the location of obstructions over the Bluetooth ear-piece. The system can also read QR signs to alert the wearer of their location.

via @tcarmody

Bruce Sterling interviewed by Andrew Keen @ SXSW

Posted by on March 18th, 2011

Here’s a selection of short clips from TechCrunch TV’s Andrew Keen interview with The Chairman, Bruce Sterling, at this year’s SXSW.

Watch the full selection on Tech Crunch: part1 & part2.

via Technoccult & @doingitwrong.

Kinect video scratching

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

From from artist Mauritius Seeger, via Make:

I use modul8 with a midi controller and have kind of given up on video scratching because it’s so bad in software when i last tried it ( with modul8) and have been generally frustrated with the type of control i have over video playback in vj software.

The reason i was interested in using kinect for this is because i can imagine a much more intuitive, natural and fun way to control visuals than sliders or a mouse. i was going to add clip transition controlled with a swipe movement, since scratching and clip changing would go a long way in having something usable already, and that would just be the beginning.

Kinect used to shoot a gorgeous, ghostly music video

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

Video Via Engadget.


Posted by on January 19th, 2011


Arduino: The Documentary

Posted by on January 9th, 2011

This 30min documentary covers not just the origin of the Arduino, but how it’s helped create the MakerBot (which is getting a lot of attention at CES) and other interesting designs in hackerspaces across the globe.

It’s also worth pointing out the Practical Arduino book and blog, co-authored by Jon Oxer (who we’ve featured here before for his RFID implant.)

via Mark Pesce

Sensebridge’s wearable sensory augmentation devices

Posted by on January 6th, 2011

Sensebridge (mentioned in the previous post) have two wearable project kits available:

For a demo of each, see this video:

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Kinect in Flight

Posted by on December 9th, 2010

Students with the STARMAC project at Hybrid Systems Lab at UC Berkeley have used a hacked Microsoft Kinect to serve as the guidance system for an autonomously navigating flying robot.

The attached Microsoft Kinect [2] delivers a point cloud to the onboard computer via the ROS [3] kinect driver, which uses the OpenKinect/Freenect [4] project’s driver for hardware access. A sample consensus algorithm [5] fits a planar model to the points on the floor, and this planar model is fed into the controller as the sensed altitude. All processing is done on the on-board 1.6 GHz Intel Atom based computer, running Linux (Ubuntu 10.04).

A VICON [6] motion capture system is used to provide the other necessary degrees of freedom (lateral and yaw) and acts as a safety backup to the Kinect altitude–in case of a dropout in the altitude reading from the Kinect data, the VICON based reading is used instead. In this video however, the safety backup was not needed.

Remains of the Day: Kinect Hacking Makes for Minority Report-Style Browsing

Posted by on November 30th, 2010

Video via lifehacker.

Kinect Sex

Posted by on November 29th, 2010

Slashdong discusses the Kinect and sex:

In summary, the camera can watch you masturbate, easily know you are masturbating, and use information that to control shit, be it your text editor or someone else’s love device. It can also make bad 3d porn of you while you masturbate and control, or it can overlay cartoony shit on you so you don’t have to be you while you’re doing whatever it is you do to yourself if you’re into that to control that thing that other person is into.

Binary Glove

Posted by on November 29th, 2010

Syuzi, from FashioningTech explains:

The Binary Glove, by game designer Pete Hawkes, is a fun interactive gaming wearable that teaches you a bit about bits. Each fingertip represents a bit value in a simple binary sequence 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 and is fitted with a pressure sensor that turns each bit on and off. The LCD displays the sum total of the sequence along with each value in the sequence.

When Light Graffiti Meets Performance Art

Posted by on November 6th, 2010

JörgMiedza_ JanWöllert_Light

From tonyleather over at EnvironmentalGraffiti:

LAPP-Pro is a Bremen, Germany-based duo that specializes in light art performance photography, often accompanied by music. Jörg Miedza and Jan Wöllert have been working together since the autumn of 2007, although both have photographic connections going back many years. The basic concept of LAPP was invented by Jan, accidentally trapped overnight in an old industrial complex in Bremen, back in the summer of 2007. He amused himself by making shapes and patterns with some LED lamps, quickly realising that he had discovered a new way of creating photographs.

Descended from light drawing, the basis of their work are long-time exposures, with moving light sources used to create luminous light sculptures that are captured in photographs. Many compositions consist of up to 20 single steps between the opening and closure of the shutter. This requires that, apart from imagination, fantasy and creativity, the performer must have body control to achieve the exact pace of synchronised steps with the handling and distribution of lights. It is very much a performance that must in many cases be rehearsed before the images are made for real.

See also:

Robotic helicopter that can grasp a payload

Posted by on August 29th, 2010


Like the Grand Theft Auto RC missions come to life, this helicopter can grasp objects for transport. They don’t have to be a special size or shape, and it can lift them even if they are not centered. This is thanks to a load-balancing hand (originally developed as a prosthesis) that relies on flexible joints and a tendon-like closing mechanism. As you can see in the video, the light-weight chopper has an on-board camera so that the operator can see what is being picked up. This little guy has no problem lifting objects that are over one kilogram while remaining stable in the air.

Link and photo from

See also:

First human ‘infected’ with computer virus

Posted by on May 27th, 2010
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via 80% of the humans I follow on Twitter.

Caution: God Thinks You Are Stupid

Posted by on February 19th, 2010

CAUTION: God Thinks You Are Stupid

(photo credit: Suzannah B. Troy)

Brilliant sign hack up in NYC.  More details from the NYPost:

TrustoCorp, a group of self-proclaimed urban artists, is adorning city poles in trendy neighborhoods like the East Village and Williamsburg with absurdist messages shaped like official street signs.

“Caution. God thinks you are stupid. Notice: Ignoring God is un-American,” warns one metal missive — complete with a hand firing a lightning bolt — attached below a Department of Transportation sign on East 10th Street near First Avenue.

Check out this Flickr pool for many more fine examples of their work.

MikroKopter – HexaKopter

Posted by on February 12th, 2010

The MikroKopter, as presented by Holger Buss. The many-bladed copter can carry a small camera, and you can build one yourself following the wiki!

Thanks to heresy bob, who sent me the link via twitter!

Jumping off the Burj

Posted by on January 15th, 2010

So last week the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was opened, the latest building to be qualified as the world’s tallest. It cost something like 1.5 billion dollars to construct and is basically a vertical city. In fact:

A firm of Chicago architects have designed it so that those who so wish will never have to leave, or even descend below the 108th floor.

That level is the top floor of residential apartments. For work, you can go to the offices upstairs – anywhere up to the 160th floor. To eat, you can visit the restaurant on the 122nd and to exercise, you can use the gym on the 123rd, about 440 metres up. The gym has both an indoor and, unnervingly, an outdoor swimming pool.

To prevent the high-flying yet enclosed life from becoming dull, the tower’s developers have a solution – at least for the young. The Burj intends to host the world’s highest nightclub, 20 floors higher still than the gym.

Back in May, 2008 two men snuck in and base jumped off it. This is their story:

P.S – not sure if you suffer from vertigo? Check out the view from the very top.

Music in the key of iPhone

Posted by on December 26th, 2009


Implantable Silicon-Silk Electronics

Posted by on November 16th, 2009

Scientists of the University of Pennsylvania are creating electronics that almost completely dissolve inside the body, through the use of thin, flexible silicon electronics on silk substrates.

While implanted electronics must usually be encased to protect them from the body, these electronics don’t need protection. The whole process is pretty much seamless: The electronics on the flexible silk substrates conform to biological tissue. The silk melts away over time and the thin silicon circuits left behind don’t cause irritation because they are just nanometers thick.

To make the devices, silicon transistors about one millimeter long and 250 nanometers thick are collected on a stamp and then transferred to the surface of a thin film of silk. The silk holds each device in place, even after the array is implanted in an animal – so far the technique is tested on mice – and wetted with saline, causing it to conform to the tissue surface.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the researchers report that such circuits can be implanted in animals with no adverse effects. And the performance of the transistors on silk inside the body doesn’t suffer.

The researchers are now developing silk-silicon LEDs that might act as photonic tattoos that can show blood-sugar readings, as well as arrays of conformable electrodes that might interface with the nervous system.


Seeing RFID on the cheap

Posted by on October 13th, 2009

The folks at BERG developed this neat method for visualizing the sensitivity of an RFID reader. Rather than using an expensive set of test equipment to measure the magnetic field intensity, they just hooked their reader up so that it lit an LED every time their card was detected, and then captured it using a camera.

Link and video via