Thursday, 22 August 2013

Learning the major organs of the human body

I put together a video of the work done by my better half as a university student project. It was created in the old Macromedia (aka Adobe) Director.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Showcase your Powerpoint pesentations skills with the Kinect Showreel

So giving you the insider scoop on the fabulous things one can do with this set up are having pictures sliding in the background and a person talking in front of the images/video to superimposing moving objects or people for a 3D effect. The capabilities are just beginning and are endless, plus even more exciting to see is a spectrum of subject matters/people using this set up for their work.

How many times have you been told to practise in front of a mirror before you go and give a presentation. Now you can record and watch yourself in action (aka reflective learning). And if you're brave like me, you can put your video online for all to see. If you'd like me to put your video on my youtube channel, please feel free to send it to me.

Key features of the Kinect Showreel:

  • Practice for that important presentation you are about to give.
  • Use it for remote presentation e.g. by using Skype's desktop sharing feature.
  • Record your presentation and get feedback from your peers.
  • Improve on your presentation skills by guaging the your use of your hands (too much/too little), smile, voice, eye contact, posture, mannerisms and confidence. Note that your Kinect would have to be positioned properly for you to be able to guage eye contact.

If you are looking for a little bit more humour, you can watch the making of my video. Interestingly, even though I was not in front of an audience, I still had the same fear/nervousness that I always have as my presentation looms. You might find that the software helps you to cope with this. I make no promises. I would certainly like to have your opinions on if it helps. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how frustrated I can get with myself. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, my son decided to disrupt Dad's presentation. Oh no! Have fun watching ... 


Kinect Showreel is based on the green screen demo released in the Microsoft Kinect SDK samples. I made some changes (nothing sophisticated) to improve the contours but it's still very flickery on the hair. The reason it works well with me is because I don't have much hair really. :D

For now, the application is able to load images or videos. I have ideas on how to extend the functionalities (e.g. gesture control) but I would like to guage the level of interest. There are some windows functionalities that are buggy. Don't resize the windows and don't move the window while the application is recording. You've been warned... :)

For powerpoint presentations, you'll need to save your powerpoint as a video (wmv) before you can load it within the application. You can use the pause button to pause presentations while you are speaking. You can rewind as needed. Forward button can be buggy in certain situations, which I'm yet to figure out.

It's free for non-commercial use and feel free to send me your updates to the code so I can integrate it. At this point, I'd like to give a shout out to Karl Sanford's project, which I used in my project to try and improve the noisy pixels around the holes and contours.

Download Kinect Showreel

Download source code

Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 and above
Microsoft Expression Encoder 4.0 SP2
Kinect for Windows Runtime v1.7 (includes drivers)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Teleportation in Large Scale Virtual Environments

Teleportation over large distances in large scale virtual environments causes a loss of spatial orientation that is disadvantageous to many tasks that require spatial awareness. However, users of very-large-scale virtual worlds often wander around and get bored very quickly when navigating using virtual flying with conventional input methods. Interfaces are needed that can increase users' attention and enjoyment. I propose the use of teleportation to instantaneously transport users to interesting locations while exploring very-large-scale virtual worlds like Second Life. Teleport locations are determined by a model which selects randomly from moving objects. Two videos show my avatar being teleported from one location to another. Whilst, I'm unable to determine where I am, relative to where I was (spatial awareness), I'm able to visit locations that I would not have known of its existence otherwise. In one of the videos, I repeatedly teleport to a secret location within Second Life, where a note pops up warning me to leave.

More research is planned.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Just a thought

As the years go by!

From birth to around 20 years of age, you learn a lot at school, university, home, etc. The learning experience empowers you and you are ready to conquer the world.

From about 20 to 30 years of age, you set out to use your learning experiences to improve your life. You want to lead the world. You imagine yourself like Bill Gates OR You want to be the best Doctor or Scientist in the world!  What an ambition! You even start to think that the only way you can be happy is by realising your goals. As you get to the end of your thirties, you wake up and start to look around you. What do you see? You see people! Loved ones! Then you realise that they are the only ones that can make you happy! You start to get your priorities right!

From 30 onwards, you start to make corrections and appreciate those around you more. You start to help people more because you never know what tomorrow will bring. You don't decide tomorrow! The fact that tomorrow comes is a big enough achievement!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Kinect animated spherical projection of avatar head

A lot of possibility in terms of communication can be made with the Magic Planet and the Kinect. Instead of just flat surfaces, users can interact with a display that is shaped like a human head, adding depth and realism to the conversation in teleconferencing.

Learning in Virtual Environments - 3D Algebra Simulation

3D visualization and interaction may potentially enhance the understanding of complex subjects by learning through observation and interaction.

We designed an interactive 3D Maths (Algebra) simulation and visualized it on three different systems (CAVE, 3D Desktop and Smartphone).

Monday, 8 October 2012

UCL Computer Science Outreach with Generating Genius - August 2011

I organised a week-long outreach programme with Generating Genius, which took place from 15-19 August 2011. I was initially worried that it may have to be postponed (or cancelled) due to the spread of the England riots between 6 and 10 August 2011. Luckily, the investment of time and effort by Generating Genius meant that non of their kids were involved. It serves to highlight the need for more investment in the future of our kids. You can find out more about the outreach programme from the UCL's press release in the link below:

London teens learn about the latest virtual reality technology in UCL Computer Science’s state-of-the-art Virtual Environment lab.

CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) is an immersive virtual reality environment where projectors are directed to four walls of a room-sized cube.
Here, I explain how the CAVE works to the young students.
Young students are experiencing a virtual conflict scenario.

Another group of students also experiencing the virtual conflict scenario.

One of the Lego robots the students worked on controlling with using Google Android phones via bluetooth.

Judges at the prize winning ceremony at the end of the week-long programme. Judges are from Google and includes Prof. Finkelstein (Faculty Dean).