Hacking the Kinect with openFrameworks


Dates: Tuesday & Thursdays, December 4, 6, 11, 13
Times: 6pm – 9pm
Course Length: 12 hours
Cost: $20/instruction hour, $240 total, $216 for GAFFTA Members
Location: GAFFTA, 923 Market Street, Suite 200 San Francisco, CA 94102

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This workshop will explore coding and designing interactive experiences using openFrameworks. openFrameworks is an open source, creative coding platform written in c/c++ that is designed to be a simple , powerful , and modular toolkit for creative artists. This toolkit is used around world in a variety of formats spanning physical installations and reactive systems to small mobile and embedded applications. Specifically this workshop will start with an introduction to Open Frameworks as a whole and will then focus on using the popularly hackable kinect device.

Day 1 : openFrameworks 101
+Lecture: Community Showcase, Out of Box capabilities, Core Examples + Addons
+Lab: Coordinate Spaces, Pixel Manipulation, Implementing community addons, Particles + Forces

Day 2 : Introduction to the Kinect
+Lecture: How a Kinect works
+Workshop and Examples: Libfreenect + OpenCV blob tracking and using kinect data to make art

Day 3 : A deeper dive into oF
+Lecture: Basics of 3D movement, oF Community
+Lab: Cameras + 3D Space, Point Clouds, OpenNI + NITE Skeleton Tracking

Day 4 : Connecting with oF
+Lab: Networking Basics, connecting to an instrument with OSC and Ableton Live, connecting to another app with local sockets, sharing your work with GitHub

Requirements: Workshop attendees will receive all examples and complete source files. Students wil be expected to provide their own Kinect camera with the external power supply. Students will need to provide their own laptop capable of running openFrameworks. Attendees can download openFrameworks for free here and follow their OS specific setup instructions here. While there are many potential IDE options we recommend Xcode (free) for OS X and code::blocks (free) for Windows and Linux. Your own computer is also required for this course.

Prerequisites: Attendees are expected to have knowledge of a object oriented programming language. You should know what a variable, function, event, and an array are. Previous experience in c++ or Processing is a plus.

Ben McChesney


Ben McChesney has an eccentric passion for making shiny and fun installations. With the Microsoft Kinect sensor his focus shifted from a flash web developer towards Open Frameworks and creating physical experiences. The result of this new direction led him to join Helios Interactive, an experience design studio in San Francisco, and spearhead their development team in multi-touch and gesture based installations. He is a recent graduate from Rochester Institute of Technology’s New Media Design and Imaging degree program. In his free time Ben is an amateur economist, musician, and a heck of a dancer. Someday he hopes to use data visualization and open source to make the world a better place.