Hiding the Kinect v2

Description

Just written the coolest Kinect app? You go to share or present it and you get the question, "What's that black thing?" as they point at the Kinect? Your designer feels the device throws off the entire experience? Wish you could hide it, without impacting its performance?

Roland Smeenk has got JUST the post for you!

Keep your magic a secret; hiding your Kinect V2

Like any good magician trying to keep it’s tricks a secret, developers of interactive installations should try to hide the technology of their installation as good as possible. This will keep your audience wondering and make your installation more magical. In this article I explore how the Kinect can be masked or hidden behind a Magic Mirror.

Masking the Kinect

A bulky device like Kinect V2 is hard to hide especially if it needs a proper view of your audience. Since the color and depth sensors in the Kinect V2 only cover part of the total front it makes sense to hide the rest of the device behind a thin wall. If you only use the depth camera for body tracking you can also cover the color camera and the microphone array. Since the front of the Kinect is covered with a flat piece of glass it requires some tweaking to find out where the sensors are exactly. I created a template PDF for masking the Kinect V2: KinectV2Masks

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Hiding behind a Magic Mirror

With the rising popularity of magic mirror screens I also wondered if the Kinect could be hidden behind a two way mirror (aka Magic Mirror). If you place the Kinect tightly against the glass it is possible to look through the glass, but the quality of the depth image is worse than that of an unblocked Kinect. The quality of the image is highly dependent on the type of glass that is used. I tested this with a piece of acrylic and a few types of glass. Here are some screenshots from the Windows Store app Kinect Evolution

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Conclusion

User interfaces are most natural if they do not reveal their technological components. In case of a Kinect based interactive installation hiding is not easily done. However there are a few tricks for minimizing the visibility of the used device. Which one is the most suitable depends on the specific needs of your installation. I am always interested to hear if you have other ways for hiding your Kinect.

Project Information URL: http://smeenk.com/hiding-your-kinect-v2/

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