A Novel Trick Using Head Tracking
We just came across a pretty good video featuring a novel use for head tracking. Some creative folks at Rationalcraft.com found to way to transform their living room with a pair of HD plasma TV screens and a Wii Remote; a trick we’ve written about in past posts. Combining Custom Winscape software with a high video playback and still image resolution, they managed to create a fantastic illusion in their own home.
The HD displays are set up behind a wall/façade, flush to the wall and with an interior window opening up to each of the screens. The screens display a scene of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in the distance looking down from a bluff, as if your home was actually built outside the city overlooking the sea. Blue skies, passing cars along the bridge, and boats entering the bay make for a realistic view from within your living room,
The illusion was achieved using a Apple Macbook Pro computer connected to the HD TVs from an adjacent room in the house and running OS X software with a program called Winscape. The computer plays a selection of video – in this case, the scenic overlook of the bridge – and Winscape renders the proper portions of the video to fill the appropriate displays with Quicktime and OpenGL. Using the Wii remote, the movement of the device reports the position of a custom-built IR-emitting necklace in the room using Bluetooth, and the Winscape software uses the tracking information to shift the view depending on where the person wearing the necklace stands within the room. In conjunction with the Wii Remote, you can move around the room and let the aspect and angle change automatically, depending on your position. If you step left, more scene appears to the right. Step forward, and you can see further up and down from out the “window.”
Real windows are interactive, as Rational Craft’s site says. When you move your head in relation to a window, the view outside shifts depending on your angle, and a simple combination of hardware and software, along with some basic carpentry can create an entirely new feeling to what was just an everyday living room.
It’s really quite realistic and looks like a fun effect to have in your home, especially if your home doesn’t have a particularly nice view. Of course, the window’s view tracks depending on the location and relation to the signal-emitting necklace, so it really only works for one person at a time. But the novelty of it all makes for a pretty fun trick.
Take a look at the video on Rational Craft’s page to see how it works…
Waking up in the same place every morning is boring
- Using the Nintendo Wii for head-tracking