Another useless trick

Actually, this is how I feel sometimes — perforated.

On with the Processing saga. One of the things I’m interested is in live video manipulation and EyeToy-like interaction with the computer. So the other day I went to buy a cheapo webcam so that I could do my experiments without risking an accidental punch at my Canon HD camera, besides keeping a cleaner desk. I entered an electronics store, picked up the ten euro camera that didn’t look like a total piece of shit (the images it generates, however, are the glorious crap-o-vision you expect — which is nice), and went to the cashier. Just as I was going to pay I realized that here was a nerdy, badly shaven creature about to buy a webcam. “Hm, quit the mid-90s prejudices and cybersex superstitions”, I thought. “People constantly buy webcams, right? This electronics store sells at least a dozen different models, so there’s as much demand for webcams as for, say, mice and keyboards. Besides, most laptops have incorporated webcams, and people have all kinds of uses for them… It’s just that I can’t think about anything else right now!” I paid for the camera, and the guy at the cash register winks at me. The fucker.

Anyway, I did buy my blob brightness and positioning sensor to get some work done. I’m trying to see if I can come up with a gesture-based interface for something we’re doing at my Master’s, but in the meantime I got to get my Processing confidence level high enough. As a first exercise, I did some eye candy: an application that converts brightness data to depth data. That’s not much, but I’m still learning my way around the JMyron computer vision library, which looks like the fastest shortcut to where I want to be. Since Processing web applets apparently can’t access people’s cameras (which is a good thing, I suppose), you can’t see my experiment online, instead you’ll have to download a compiled application to try it. Both the Windows and the Mac versions require, I believe, Java on your computer, and the latter version is untested, so I’d love to hear from you if it works. There are quite a few options I added to that program, press ‘H’ to see the instructions. Enjoy!

Download 3Dwebcam: Windows | MacOS X.