I’ve Got No Strings To Hold Me Down

The recent release of the Xbox Kinect has galvanized thousands of people into hacking their sensor peripherals, especially since the release of different open-source drivers. Grifu came out with a video demonstration of his own Kinect hack wherein he uses the motion tracking camera to create a real-time puppet animation. For the most part, the video is divided into three difference sections so that we can see 1) him making movements, 2) a close-up of the animated puppet doing the exact same movements and 3) his living room where the his MacBook and TV are both displaying the puppet’s movement. The actual puppet looks like some sort of Ancient Greek soldier and the music is oddly set to a guitar riff ripped from an 80’s porno. Anyway, the puppets’ movements are surprisingly flexible and it ends up looking a lot like “Wayang”, a type of shadow puppet theater originally from Indonesia. The video also reminds me of the oldest feature-length stop-motion film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed; a short that features one of the first recorded instances of the silhouette animation technique. At the beginning of the video, we get to see the breakdown of Grifu’s body into lines and polygones which also make up the puppet. There is a noticeable lag time in the subsequent movements of the puppet that is most likely attributed to the unsophistication of the Kinect as a motion capturing solution. It would have been cool if the camera was precise enough to capture more subtle articulations, like finger movements, but according to Grifu, this project is still a work in progress. I’d be interested in seeing what kinds of creative possibilites there are attached to this type of puppet animation. How about bringing back Punch and Jude? Maybe a broadway production of Being John Malkovich? Via: KinectHacks