Dec 9, 2010

Interested in the OpenNI Initiative? OpenKinect? To learn more, read Josh Blake's Interview of Tamir Berliner of PrimeSense

Josh Blake, Deconstructing the NUI, 12/9/10

Josh Blake recently interviewed Tamir Berliner, one of the founders of PrimeSense.  If you haven't heard, Microsoft's Kinect was based on work by PrimeSense, and licensed their technology. PrimeSense provides consumer electronics with natural user interaction capabilities. The good news is that the company recently released open-sourced middleware for natural interaction and depth-camera drivers. It will be interesting to see how this will play in the near future!

In the interview, Tamir discussed a number of topics related to postWIMP technologies.  He also announced the newly created  OpenNI, "an industry-led, not-for-profit organization formed to certify compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications, and middleware."   It is good to see this level of support for the cause!

Here is a quote from the interview that I especially liked:

"I believe that till today the devices we’ve been using, made us learn greatly lot about them before we could use them and gain their value. I’m pretty sure everyone who is reading this has got at least 3 remotes sitting on his living room table, and at least once a week needs to help someone use their computer/media center/phone/etc. It’s time for that to change and it’s up to us, the technologists to make this revolution happen, it’s time for the devices to take the step of understanding what we want and making sure we get that, even without asking if it’s a trivial task as opening a door when we approach, closing the lights when we leave the room, even making sure we have hot water to shower with when we return from work or wake up in the morning, depends on what we normally do." -Tamir

Here are a couple of videos from the OpenNI website that demonstrate OpenNI-compliant applications:

OpenNI-compliant real time skelton tracking by PrimeSense

OpenNI-compliant real time SceneAnalyzer by PrimeSense

Josh Blake is the author of the Deconstructing the NUI blog. Over the past couple of years, he's explored natural user interfaces and interactions through his work on applications designed for Microsoft Surface and Win7 with Windows Presentation Foundation.
About a month ago, Josh organized OpenKinect, an on-line community to support collaboration among people interested in exploring ways to use Kinect with PCs and other devices.  An example of this effort is the open source code, libfreenect, which includes drivers and libraries for Windows, Linux, and OS X. 

The Natural User Interface Revolution
Josh Blake, 1/5/09

Kinect for Xbox 360: The inside story of Microsft's secret 'Project Natal'  (long, but worth reading) David Rowan, Wired UK, 10/29/10

People of libreenect

OpenNI User Guide (pdf)

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