Disintegration at Tech Wave

Image from the Kinect Toy

Last week I went up to Tiree Tech Wave, a unique tech conference held on the Hebridean island of Tiree.  The event was very relaxed both in terms of the feel and structure.  It was a bit like a five day hack event with a bring your own gadgets policy.

One of the gadgets that was brought along was a Kinect that was compatible with my Mac.  I have been wanting to experiment the Kinect since I attended the Digital Revolution show at the Barbican earlier in the year but I’ve had trouble finding a model that would work with my computer.  Luckily Adam van Sertima from TAG had already solved many of the set up problems and we were able to getting it running with only a short wait for all the drivers to download over Tiree’s limit internet connection.

We decide to work on a project exploring how virtual representations of our bodies can suddenly undermine our expectations.  The player is rendered as a grid of differently sized dots using the Kinect depth camera to pull out there outline.  They get used to the rules that govern this representation and how it reflects their own movements.  Then after a set time, the dots transform into physics objects which collapse under gravity, hopefully inducing a sense of physical disintegration in the player.  I think it worked pretty well as a first step and it’s good fun to play around with.

Here is video of the project running on my laptop.  If you fancy having a go at getting it to run on you own Kinect, I have released the source code on GitHub with installation instructions.  If you run into trouble with it, you might want to check out Daniel Shiffman’s guide to using the Kinect in Processing.

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