I Am The One, Kinectotron

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

I think Kinect is a new game or something from Microsoft – something to do with retards – I don’t really understand it – but then I didn’t understand Wii either, or guitar-hero, or those video games that tiny Japanese people dance on. I understand Space-Invaders. Space Invaders understand me. And we hate each other.

Anyway the Kinect hacks absolutely fucking rock – what it’s being used for (as far as I can tell) is 3D edge-recognition…


Engaget have started compiling a list of them

This one where they’ve fused it onto a roomba is pretty neat – reminds me of the Swedish roomba hack from earlier this year, where the roomba cruised around the room indexing your stuff so you could google it later, when you can’t fucking find stuff because someone’s taken it and I don’t know why they keep doing that. It’s not in the Roomba. I’ve checked. Jesus.

It took the open-sorcerers 3 hours to release drivers for it – and it’s into the wild.

Being a clairvoyant, I’d expect to see some sort of smart-phone, kinect hybrid at some point – probably as a phone accessory – unless the phones start getting bi-focal abilities… which is probably on the cards, assuming it’s not all tied down with future-damaging patents, which it probably is.

Speaking of which… here’s a video of a microcopter

MikroKopter – Version 0.80 from Holger Buss on Vimeo.

with a couple of fairly vital enhancements in the shape of “free-style-mode” and the camera stabilising thing… which is used here,

Hive Swimwear – Aerobot.com.au from Simon Jardine on Vimeo.

taking videos of bikini-wearing models, who are doing what bikini-wearing models do best, which is hang out at the beach.

In addition to that is a 3D printed quadracopter.

Mostly consisting of vitamin parts, granted, but there is this growing tendency for hardware problems to become software problems – and software is an vibrant and insane pscycho-ecosystem of evolution. It’s like the amazon on weird fast drugs – all the drugs that probably grow in the amazon that it deliberately takes to make it weirder and faster than it already was. Software is the only ecosystem I know of that is consciously speeding itself up.

Anyway, I was talking to Josh the other day (or at him. He didn’t reply), and had this minor vision of an internet where devices could communicate via anything that vibrations could travel through – like tapping on pipes. They could lip-read Hal-like across the room. They could flash LEDs at each other, or ping each other with radio-waves etc etc… for international speed, obviously the fastest way would still be centrally owned (and controlled by scarcity-head) pipelines… but the internet of things could well be a massive, ever-adapting mesh network that absolutely no one could censor or control – which is vital I think, the work-ethic of evil being what it is. The internet is too important for it to be controlled by anything inherently disposed towards dishonesty as governments or corporations.

And further to that… really cheap wifi-routing robots – probably microcopters, that charge up in the sun, the fly off to the point of minimum coverage, while still being part of a link… avoiding each other like electrons, or strangers sitting next to each other on the bus.

This kinect thing possibly takes that idea further – robots that can do what google-street-view does but in real-time. Would we want that? Christ no. We could do it though – that thing I was on about earlier about some Australian security firm making a real-time 3D model of a dock or something – that you could virtually fly-through, just got a whole lot closer. War and tourism. And games. War and tourism becoming even more gamelike than they already are.

It would be fantastic for autonomous bio-monitoring (which actually is a good idea). A while back someone at TED talked about doing this with cellphones – but spacially aware cheapo-copters might do it better – and if they were mesh-networked, it would be like The Universal mind acquiring a sensory organ not a million miles away from a skin – a planet-wide sense of touch.

Next Week: Robot on Robot predation. It started with the greed-heads trying to control the mesh, but wound up biting their arses all the way back to the Pleistocene.