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New hack turns Kinect into low-cost mocap camera

Monday, November 15th, 2010 | Posted by Jim Thacker

The tech blogs may still be debating the exact launch sales for Microsoft’s new motion-detecting peripheral, but a US researcher has already found a use closer to 3D artists’ hearts – as a DIY performance-capture device.

Software written by the University of California’s Oliver Kreylos enables him to reconstruct a scene captured by the Kinect in three-dimensional space (top of page).

The results are still pretty crude – engadget’s coverage describes them as looking like the video for A-ha’s Take On Me, which we think is being charitable – but a second video (above) also shows Kreylos getting some pretty accurate spatial measurements out of his footage, like a Rube Goldberg version of PhotoModeler.

While this may still be some way off a workable product, the current issue of 3D World magazine reports that developers of low-cost mocap systems such as iPi Soft are looking on games peripherals like Kinect and PlayStation Eye as inexpensive potential capture devices. Worth keeping an eye on.

Visit Oliver Kreylos’s Kinect hacking page (includes source code)

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