OpenCV in citizen media 3D compositing?

Last week someone put an interesting item onto Hack-A-Day; someone who’d built their own “CT Scanner”. And functionally it is. It takes x-ray images from all angles around an object, which they then scan into a computer and let it turn the platen images into a 3D model. I believe the latter was done using OpenCV scripts.

The recent and ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City have generated a large amount of citizen-media footage (albeit released without sound in many cases, to avoid breaking outdated wiretapping laws).

If key events observed from different positions could be found to align the timelines of footage, it seems plausible that the same scripts used in the CT scanner could be used to assemble a crude animated 3D model of the events as they unfold.

For purposes of evidence gathering and contextualisation of the news stories, it seems this could be a very useful tool, rendering isolated and often repeated footage into singular but multifaceted logs of events from every recorded angle.

I doubt it would be of high quality, due to all the variables and low-quality of the footage used, but it could perhaps knit together the results with the events that preceded them, and at least help in giving a more rounded view of events.

A couple of near-future ideas

1. Use the creation of Electrostatic Buckytube memory as a sub-neuron computer interface.

Create buckytubes with chemical receptors and emiters, so that the entry of a neurochemical “flips” the bucky-RAM state, before emiting another of the particular neurochemical to be on it’s way. Could be read by additional artificial Glial cells.

Pro’s: Would allow reading and potential manipulation of neural chemistry, and perhaps connection to external devices.

Cons: The additional step of flipping the memory state and releasing fresh neuro-chemicals could slow down brain chemistry.

2. RFID cards such as the Oyster use induction-coils for power and data transmission. As electro-magnetic pulse devices can be tuned to select bands, it seems plausible that you could create a localised EMP device running at 13.56Mhz that could overload and burn-out all RFID devices of that type within the local vicinity.

Seafood BBQ anyone?

Flashing Lights and Balls

Browsing wikipedia can give you some terrible mind-viruses.

For instance, did you know the Scarborough Fair Collection has two Wurlitzer Theatre Organs in it? Okay they’re in two different locations, but can you imagine “Dueling Banjos” being performed on them?

Of course YouTube’s not much better, and seeing Jerri Ellisworth’s enthusiasm for pinball machines makes your brain crank up. One quick sound-bite of “I am.. Sinistar” and I’m not thinking of the original arcade game but the remix by NSReynard, and by extension how amazing a pinball machine based around his music and Squeedge’s artwork would look.

But then I start thinking of what a Wurlitzer pinball machine would look like too.

LondonFur meet June 26th, and photo-shoot

A little talk about todays LondonFur meet, and the joy of photographing people who enjoy being photographed.

A lovely, if hot, day out with the furries in London again. Made a pleasant number of sales, saw Reaperfox there (her first attendance ever), Jackal back from holiday, some lovely new newbies, and had a wonderful time doing the arranged photo-shoot with Halo Huskybutt. At my request, she modelled the three new ladies-fit UKFur T-shirts, some of which will make it to the upcoming web-shop as model shots to show them in use (in addition to the item-only images).
I also managed to get Lupus Londonwolf to do some impromptu modelling of the unisex shirts, so that’s all the current bases covered!

It’s so interesting photographing people intently (rather than casually). I’ve said before I’m finding it rather like making instant art; you take lots and lots of shots, and pick only the best of them. You try lots of subtle variations. It’s so dynamic. But it’s also interesting to see what poses and expressions people fall into comfortably under only general directions, or how they move and engage with the camera.

I’ll freely admit that I appreciate images of ladies more than I do of men, so I’ll say up front that I got good pictures of both Halo and Lupus. But looking at the images of Halo as I did the first pass on them to sift the better ones, I felt genuinely amazed at how wonderful she looked in them, and that I’d been able to capture those images. I’m sure I have a long way to go and a lot to learn still, but it’s so intensely enjoyable to take photos like this. And particularly so when the model is so enthusiastic and engaging with the process.
My heart really did race looking over the pictures; there’s already the creative excitement of the process of doing it, but ending up with a variety of images of a beautiful woman is a wonderful bonus. I don’t mean that to sound sexual, but I suppose it is sensual. And with sensuality such a component of so many other forms of art, I shouldn’t feel bad about admitting it (maybe only about feeling bad about feeling bad).

I hope I can find a way to get the same dynamic creative excitement back with my drawing abilities as well. I think more days like today will certainly help. And I think it goes without saying that I would love to have another photo-session with Halo some time soon. (an idle thought is to play with the concept of costume and wearer, as she’s an enthusiastic ‘suiter. The dividing line between in and out of costume seems seldom touched upon.)

I’ll get the shoot photos up once I’ve gotten them down to the real cream of the crop. With help from the UKFur forums tech-section, the issue with uploading the full sized images from my camera has been identified. While I probably won’t upload many, so as to keep the full-size originals private, it would be good to have the option to upload the full sized images immediately or to show off the highest level of detail at times. Whether I can or not will depend on if I can have my PHP memory allowance raised by a few more megabytes.
But until then the freeware batch-resizer “Fotosizer” seems to be working fine shrinking them down to a compatible 60% of the originals.

The few non-shoot images from todays meet can be found in the gallery here:

And as a small unrelated footnote; The “cargo pram” was pushed to its limit today on stock-duty I think. The wheels were starting to bow rather ominously, and it was so top-heavy laden with T-shirts it was bordering on uncontrollable at times. But a new one is in the works that’ll be able to hold more and in much more convenient sub-divisions. I’m sure it’s creation will be worth at least one blog entry.

Oyster “Clamshell” Idea

I shouldn’t be surprised that the cheapest RFID reader is from China. This might be something to get in the next few months. I’m interested to see if I could create an Oyster Card reader to show current balance and if you’re “touched” in or out.

I’m currently imagining something the size of one of those old credit card sized calculators. The little ones that used to run on solar. The best way would probably to package it like the card holders used on ID lanyards, where the card is slipped into the holder. To my mind this would mean the reader coil would be within a millimetre of the cards aerial, meaning it could get away with extremely low-powered use.

While it came to mind, it would probably be impractical to try and top up the reader’s batteries through induction charging when the bundle was swiped through a terminal.

That said though, there is some small encryption used on the Oyster cards. It’s supposed to take less than a second to crack on a laptop, but this tiny reader idea is not a laptop. I suspect though that the card could capture the key when the bundle is first put through a reader. That is, if the key isn’t already universal and/or the portion of data requested isn’t the bit that’s encrypted.

As a general purpose reader it would fail, but as a single-purpose device it’s at least a plausible concept.

I doubt it would get any support from TFL however, since I imagine they make quite a bit of money from people forgetting to touch out (or finding terminals are broken) and having cards charge the daily maximum fee instead.
And I feel a large number of commuters would appreciate an end to waiting half an hour for a bus only to find their card doesn’t have enough credit on it for them to get on board!

Knocked out in China, I think they’d probably sell well for a fiver. Maybe a tenner, but I feel it’d leave space for someone to undercut you then.

Anyone got any actual RFID experience to tell me if the idea’s feasible?

[20/06/2010: Amalgamating old posts from “Dreamwidth Creative Blog” into to re-purpose DW blog account.]