Week 6 and we're almost done. GDC[^] has been and gone and unfortunately I was not able to attend due to a small matter of our CodeProject.TV[^] launch (where's the blink tag when you need it?). While missing GDC itself almost brought a tear to my eye, the knowledge that I was missing out on the beers Pete and Chip have threatened me with made it particularly painful.
I received my Interactive Gesture Camera from Intel last week and have hooked it up. Dual cameras for depth perception, dual microphones for voice recognition, and an SDK that ties it together.
And it's heavy. Really weirdly heavy for such a small camera. This isn't a bad thing though because it means when it's sitting on the top of your monitor it's very stable, and the picture quality compared to my old logitech is much better, with far less in/out refocussing issues than I had with my old webcam. It is kind of weird having it sitting there, staring at me with those two dead eyes. Evaluating me. Scanning me in the infrared. Knowing where I am, where I'm looking, what I'm saying. Intel itself does absolutely nothing to make me feel more comfortable with their disclaimer stating:
The Camera may not be used in any “mission critical application” in which the failure of the Camera could result, directly or indirectly, in personal injury or death
Injury? Death? This thing is going to sleep in the garage from now on.
Anyway, to the challengers, or those that have not been taken hostage, injured or possibly killed by their cameras. I say this because 2 of the challengers have not submitted blog postings and I've not heard anything from them. Their muffled screams are probably still echoing against the backdrop of a small, blinking green light coming from the tiny black dense camera on their bloodstained laptop.
It sleeps outside tonight. I don't want it talking to my car, whispering to it. Subverting it.
Lee[^] enjoyed GDC and ensured Intel got their hotel bill's worth by spending an inordinate amount of time in his room cranking code. Lee's understandably at the point of polishing, and at the point of taking stock of the reality of gestures. They all sound great but how do you provide feedback for a gesture driven UI? How do you let the user know the difference between a gesture that does something, a gesture that does nothing, and a gesture that was not understood. And how do you educate your users on gestures? He's basically done, so on to testing.
Sixense[^] demo'd their puppet show at GDC and they too are at the point of polishing and introducing a little realism. Not much more to say on them.
Code-Monkeys[^] are getting desperate and are quoting Gene Simmons and resorting to tongue tracking. I'm not going there. I'll just quote the man himself:
Life is too short to have anything but delusional notions about yourself.
Infrared5[^] used GDC as their own private beta testing ground which is perfect. There must have been something in the beer at GDC though because they've left the reservation and are now focussing on foot tracking. I'm a bare-feet kinda guy myself so I'm looking forward to testing next week.
Pete[^] is in lock-down mode, that time in any application where you just have to say "no more". He's introduced some very nice gesture and voice UI - voice control to set filters, shake to add a blur effect (very cute) and gestures such as swiping your entire hand right to left to smooth. I love it - very, very intuitive, almost natural. AC/DC2 and some Twisted Sister. Nice.
Eskil[^] obviously enjoyed GDC and his update this week is primarily about the details behind head tracking.
Overall the contestants seem to be ready. There's been a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas and code. It's a contest, but they're all in it together and definitely enjoying themselves.
As to us judges? There isn't going to be a lot of enjoyment in the judging. There's some quality work here and it will not be easy.