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Graphics Technology

How To Build a Winscape 161

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-that's-pretty-cool dept.
hoagaboom writes "You take your plasma TVs, mix them with a healthy dose of OpenGL and a dash of Wii Remote. Bake for a year and enjoy something called a Winscape." Although I'm not sure I'm quite willing to wear a special necklace to make the effect work, it's a super sweet little project, although they want $10 for the software and then $10 for many of the actual video loops.

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How To Build a Winscape

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  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by NEDHead (1651195) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:43AM (#31856862)
    Now my bomb shelter will be perfect
    • If you could get it to track without the necklace I think there are a whole ton of funny pranks you could pull with this.

      The first one that comes to mind would be to mess with the head of a drunken one night stand. Set the video loop to Paris and then watch their face when they walk in... What, you don't remember flying to Paris with me last night? Man, you were drunker than I thought.
    • by EnsilZah (575600)

      Don't forget to get an extra water chip.

    • by nlawalker (804108)

      Now my mom's basement will be perfect

  • ..let me say that the baby in the video is really cute. Not as cute as my baby boy, but still, not trailing far behind.

    Way more fun than a techie gadget such as fake windows.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by cas2000 (148703)

      and edible too, when you get bored of them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797)

      Whoever modded that "troll" was either childless or stupid. Someone please correct that moderation (you can mod me offtopic, I have karma to spare)

  • by ROBOKATZ (211768) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:45AM (#31856890)
    although they want $10 for the software and then $10 for many of the actual video loops.

    Well, nothing is stopping you from making your own if you want to save $20, after spending several thousand on the hardware. Actually I suppose you could just engineer your own plasma screens too. Screw you patents! Stick it to the man!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DanoTime (677061)
      While I think $10 is absolutely reasonable - if you look deeper many of the scenes he shows are not available for sale. I'm sure if you were building the thing from scratch you would probably capture your own footage too. But non tinkerers rejoice - a kit may be for sale later for ~$3K
      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        I'm sure if you were building the thing from scratch you would probably capture your own footage too.

        At first, I was thinking "if it's convenient to get a view of the Eiffel Tower (or some other landmark), why do you need this?"

        Then I realized, this could be a nice way to replace your view of that adjacent highrise in your apartment in Paris (or wherever the heck you live) without being pretentious (hey, come to my apartment in Omaha, my window looks over the Rhine...)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by iamhassi (659463)
        "While I think $10 is absolutely reasonable - if you look deeper many of the scenes he shows are not available for sale. I'm sure if you were building the thing from scratch you would probably capture your own footage too. But non tinkerers rejoice - a kit may be for sale later for ~$3K"

        I agree, $10 is reasonable. My problem is you have to wear a giant ugly IR-emitting necklace for the system to recognize you. Gee, a computer that can track a IR-emitting necklace? That's 1990s tech my friend. Facial
        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Also, don't plasma screens suffer from screen burn-in? Why is this guy running basically static images for hours on two 46" plasma screens?

          I don't know (or particularly care) about burn in, but what did occur to me was "how well is the screen going to internally dissipate and relocate heat when they are stood up on end?" I know that a non-trivial number of screens are mounted upside-down (when hung from ceilings, etc), but I don't recall having ever seen a consumer TV mounted in "portrait mode". I wonder if

          • by iamhassi (659463)
            The building of video explains what they did with the heat. The plasma screens are hanging from plastic plumbing pipes and there's fans in the piping to keep the screens cool.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        While I think $10 is absolutely reasonable - if you look deeper many of the scenes he shows are not available for sale.

        Yeah, I'm betting that baby you need to control the screen is pretty expensive.

    • Babies to wear the sensor cost a lot more than just several thousands of dollars, they're expensive hardware!

  • $20 is cheap! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HEbGb (6544) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:52AM (#31856978)

    Why on earth are you whining about a $20 price? People spend plenty more on screensavers.

    Totally worth it, and negligible when considering the cost of the rest of the hardware.

    I expect that an improvement can be done with webcam tracking, obviously for one viewer at a time.

    • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:01AM (#31857094)
      It's not the $20! It's the baby! Getting a baby to hang the motion tracking device on will be an issue.

      I mean, do you rent it? Adopt it? Make your own? - which means getting a woman...

      Nah, this is just waaaayyy too difficult!

      • In a pinch, a pillow with a cantaloupe set atop will double for the baby.

        • by krakelohm (830589)

          In a pinch, a pillow with a cantaloupe set atop will double for the baby.

          That works for the getting a woman issue too...

          • FYI I tried that. (I named the cantaloupe Wendy Wilson) We had a nice relationship until one day when I got home to find that she had rolled off the bed and was in the kitchen with a watermelon. Then I find that she'd maxed out my Visa on QVC too. The bitch. Unless you have a good blender to end the affair, avoid cantaloupes.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        It's not the $20! It's the baby! Getting a baby to hang the motion tracking device on will be an issue.
        I mean, do you rent it? Adopt it? Make your own? - which means getting a woman...

        It's the chicken and egg problem*. If you are pushing a baby in a stroller in a supermarket, women will come up and talk to you. I remember thinking when my kids were babies and I took them to the store "damn, why didn't I have one of these when I was single?"

        * the egg came first.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          It's not the $20! It's the baby! Getting a baby to hang the motion tracking device on will be an issue. I mean, do you rent it? Adopt it? Make your own? - which means getting a woman...

          It's the chicken and egg problem*. If you are pushing a baby in a stroller in a supermarket, women will come up and talk to you. I remember thinking when my kids were babies and I took them to the store "damn, why didn't I have one of these when I was single?"

          * the egg came first.

          And then what? Ask them, "Do you want to help me make another one?"

          I don't know. I'm just curious.

          • They like men with babies because it means they don't have to do it anymore. Apparently child-birth is a bit inconvenient or something. I don't know. Women eh, always bitching about trivial things.

            • by Abstrackt (609015)

              They like men with babies because it means they don't have to do it anymore. Apparently child-birth is a bit inconvenient or something. I don't know. Women eh, always bitching about trivial things.

              I just told everyone my wife was smuggling a watermelon.

              She said dealing with me made dealing with the pregnancy seem a lot easier.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Why on earth are you whining about a $20 price? People spend plenty more on screensavers.

      Yeah, and people put on their makeup while driving, and try to siphon gasoline with a vaccuum cleaner. These are the sort of people who spend twenty bucks on a screensaver.

      Totally worth it

      Worth it? Hey, pay attention to your driving instead of posting to slashdot!

    • by xeoron (639412)
      I am the only one that is surprised people actually pay for a screensavers these days when there are so many wonderful free ones? Come to think of it-- I wonder if the same the people who buy things through spam....
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Red Flayer (890720)

        I am the only one that is surprised people actually pay for a screensavers these days when there are so many wonderful free ones?

        I know, right?

        It's trivial to get free screen savers from just about any website, I see the flashing ads all the time.

        Once you've downloaded it, you just need to click the box to give it permission to run. It's just a screensaver, and the website the ad took me to looks really good, like they hired a professional to make it. They sell screensavers too, so they're a legitimate

  • Yes (Score:4, Funny)

    by COMON$ (806135) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:55AM (#31857026) Journal
    Now I have something else I MUST have that I didn't even know about before, damn you slashdot!
  • by MarkGriz (520778) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:55AM (#31857030)

    Now you can leave your mom's basement, without ever leaving your mom's basement.

  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:59AM (#31857068)
    If they get rid of that horrific looking necklace and use camera based person tracking the whole thing would be a lot more feasible. You can't honestly tell me that having to walk around your house with an IR emitter (guessing that's what it is based on the WiiMote) round your neck is a great prospect?
    • by hesiod (111176)

      They don't expect you to do that. That part is a gimmick feature for parties or something. Of course, though, without that it's just a really expensive digital picture frame.

      • it's just a really expensive digital picture frame

        Speaking of which, I wonder how much less it would cost if they used a Linux box and free software?

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:01AM (#31857106) Homepage Journal

    It would be fine for one person, but the perspective will only be for the person wearing the dorky necklace. It will be wierd and jarring for anyone else. "Waking up in the same place is boring" but more boring would be putting the thing on before you perk your coffee. Even putting on glasses was a pain in the ass thirty years after I started wearing them at age six, and they were totally necessary; I was blind without them. Nobody is going to get up and put that thing on first thing in the morning, especially after the novelty wears off.

    Also, prior art -- Total Recall

    • by pz (113803) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @09:15AM (#31857270) Journal

      It would be fine for one person, but the perspective will only be for the person wearing the dorky necklace. It will be wierd and jarring for anyone else. "Waking up in the same place is boring" but more boring would be putting the thing on before you perk your coffee. Even putting on glasses was a pain in the ass thirty years after I started wearing them at age six, and they were totally necessary; I was blind without them. Nobody is going to get up and put that thing on first thing in the morning, especially after the novelty wears off.

      Also, prior art -- Total Recall

      Simple solution: if you are putting on your glasses every morning, then put a small reflector on the front, and bathe the room in IR. Works like a charm for head-sensing camera-based systems like TrackIR. If you habitually wear glasses, then you are, in fact, at a huge advantage for this sort of device, because there's zero impact to your daily routine, and only upside. Moreover, as long as you leave it on, it will continue to work every morning. Everyone else will have to remember to put something on, which gets to be a pain, and thus because it is not necessary, the neato-keeno device evenutaly will be forgotten or ignored.

      • Mod the parent up! Anyone who can tell you it can be done and then tells you how should be moderated up!
      • if you are putting on your glasses every morning, then put a small reflector on the front

        While this would work, I can only imagine what people who do this will look like on the beach or outside in the sunlight in general. Can you imagine a tour guide trying to give a presentation with 20 bright spots of light shining him in the eyes? My eyes! My eyes!

        People would sparkle in the light like second-rate vampires. So uncool.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Simple solution: if you are putting on your glasses every morning, then put a small reflector on the front

        Yes, that would work. Fortunately for me it wouldn't work for me, as I had my nearsightedness and age-related farsightedness surgically corrected. God but I love technology! Glasses suck, I'm glad to be rid of them.

        But if your IR lamp was bright enough and your IR reciever sensitive enough, light reflected off your eyeballs would work.

      • You know, I was going to do a somewhat similar project... With a baseball cap. Put the IR source BEHIND the WII remote, and get a baseball cap or similar with a small IR reflective dot on it (front and back, for those who still want to look like Fred Durst). Blammo, no batteries around your neck. The only issue would be other IR reflective surfaces you might be wearing.

        • by pz (113803)

          You know, I was going to do a somewhat similar project... With a baseball cap. Put the IR source BEHIND the WII remote, and get a baseball cap or similar with a small IR reflective dot on it (front and back, for those who still want to look like Fred Durst). Blammo, no batteries around your neck. The only issue would be other IR reflective surfaces you might be wearing.

          It is nearly always advisable to look at what other efforts have done before embarking on a project. The TrackIR Pro has a doodad with three reflectors on it that clips to the user's baseball hat. The three reflectors are in known physical relation to each other, which allows the TrackIR software to extract head position, but it might also be used (I'm speculating at this point) to eliminate spurious inputs by only paying attention to reflections that are in a physically plausible configuration given the

    • Not flaws if you had bothered to read the text below the video. They don't expect you to always wear the tracking necklace. It is just a novelty item they included.

    • Then it is perfect for all the /. basement dwellers. When would they ever have more than one person in their basement?
  • This concept has been discussed in several video forums. Turning your HDTV into a window to somewhere else [dvfreelancer.com]. Along with fish tanks, fire places and other perspective shots.

    But this goes way beyond those simple ideas. The perspective tracker is very clever, but that and building it into the wall adds cost and complexity. I think a simple screen saver type loop would be good enough for most people. Just to keep your TV from being a big, black hole in your living room.

    Still, good work packaging a simpl

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The perspective tracker is very clever, but that and building it into the wall adds cost and complexity.

      You wouldn't have to build it into the wall, you could mount it with screws or nails. No big deal.

      I think a simple screen saver type loop would be good enough for most people. Just to keep your TV from being a big, black hole in your living room.

      My TV's screen saver is a picture of a black cat in a coal chute at midnight on a cloudy, moonless December. And it's free!

  • $10,000 for hardware and other aspects.

    sorry, not worth it. Neat, but until I wipe my bum with $100.00 bills I'ts not worth it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In Holland we have a saying; Better well-stolen than poorly made up. In this case, this guy beat them to the idea, but these guys made a better looking use for it; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3-eiid-Uw

  • Well this is all fine and dandy.... but: http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/23/1359259 [slashdot.org]
    been there, done that.
  • by Tom (822)

    Might look nice in the video. In a real installation, I fear the human eyes are just too good, and will quickly tell you that while that may seem like the golden gate bridge outside, it has no depth, and thus is more likely to be a 2D image than a 3D reality.

  • Nothing says "I'm always going to live alone" more then this.

    • Nothing says "I'm always going to live alone" more then this.

      Indeed. The baby was clearly a rental from Babies R Us. Or an automaton. I, for one, welcome our new automa... aw, skip it.

  • by Kingrames (858416)
    Totally going to have to have one of these with a field of stars moving in one direction, like the windows on a starship in Trek. I wonder how many of these you could have synched up. You could turn your house into a starship.
  • Circular TV monitors in interior cabins. You can select ocean wave or aquarium scenes.
  • Wind eye [wikipedia.org], an etymological, all time favourite of mine. From old norse, I can imagine my winter bound ancestor, The Seafarer [anglo-saxons.net] looking through a wind eye. Not that anyone cares about the above or that I'm doing taxes today. :(
  • Small steps here, people. We already have face tracking. They'll go from the Wiimote to head tracking cameras pretty quickly and you won't need to wear anything special to make it work. Give it time.

    • Still for only one person, though, until they get TVs that can display entirely different pictures to different viewers based on their viewing angle.

      • by kvezach (1199717)
        Perhaps it could be done for three viewers using polarization: horizontal, vertical, and circular.

        Or since we're talking about science fiction tech, get out that 1MHz refresh rate monitor and equally sensitive shutter glasses; 16384 distinct viewers should be enough for everyone :p
        • by LoudMusic (199347)

          Right, because that's practical :D

          I'll stick with one person wearing a necklace, thanks ;)

  • Slashdot, you surprise me sometimes.
    • When I first saw this headline, I immediately thought, "Oh, NO! Billgatus of Borg has finally assimilated /.!"

      Then I realized that the view was from the Marin headlands, not Redmond.

  • Combine this with something like Project Natal so that the window could track the person and update the display depending on where they were and you'd have a near-perfect virtual window. Of course, I don't know how it would handle showing multiple people different views. Still, given some more refinement, you could have a frame that you hang on the wall that includes a screen, tracking hardware, and a specially designed computer to display the videos, etc. Design it right and you could extend it for othe

  • This reminds me of the HD plasma screens stuck all over the three Peppermill-owned casinos in Wendover, NV.
    Gives you pretty scenes to look at while you wait for things or gamble with grandma.

  • This will be a great tech to use for me to build a starship simulator.

    I could make a 10-Forward room in my house that looks like the one on Star Trek.

  • This kind of technology only looks cool, when you watch in on a 2D screen.
    But as soon as you see in in reality, before you, it’s very disappointing and kinda lame and pointless.

    It’s amazing how many people can’t tell the difference between real 3D, stereo 2D or just this very simplistic adaptive mono 2D imagery...

  • I've seen this before, and with less clunky head trackers.

    The tracker update rate has to be really fast, and the lag very low, or the effect breaks down. The fact that it's not stereoscopic, though, doesn't matter for distant scenes, like the Golden Gate Bridge shown. For the "aquarium", though, that will be a problem.

  • by jonathanclark (29656) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @12:39PM (#31860282) Homepage

    I've been working on a slightly more ambitious (but still a ways off!) similar project, see http://jonathanclark.com. Initially I tried using a wiimote, but found it has a extremely limited coverage area and accuracy. If you move a few feet out of a sweet spot it will stop working, also the wiimote has a lot of noise in it's samples so you end up having to smooth the samples - but this introduces a lot of latency which destroys the illusion. On the low-cost end, the TrackIR system works a lot better (faster, more accurate samples). I have a demo using TrackIR posted here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzKTJM5T0us&feature=player_embedded

    TrackIR also has a limited area it can work with, so now I've moved to using OptiTrack which gets pricer but can cover fairly large areas (at least a small room).
    One other issue I found is that flat video doesn't look entirely convincing because motion parallax should occur within a frame - for example, when you move left to right, the bridge and the water behind it should move at different speeds. To help address this, I'm currently trying to create a depth-map per video frame and convert that depth map into a mesh which the video is mapped onto. To start, I'm drawing the depth map by hand (should be ok if objects don't move much), but I'd like to create it automatically by filming from multiple angles and using feature point extraction to estimate the depth for every frame automatically.

  • It should be possible to make a Second Life viewer that works like this.

    It may even include particle filtering, so, say, attack of the flying penises will look like a snowstorm.

  • i'm disappointed that i haven't seen anyone mention Total Recall in this thread.

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