Further to our previous post on Controlling Google Earth ala Minority Report, thanks to the Atlas Gloves from was Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv, we decided to try them out for ourselves.

Using a pair of ping pong balls, that Joel our System Administrator found in a cupboard at home, a couple of led torches from down Tottenham Court Road and a touch of superglue we cobbled together our interpretation of the Atlas Glove controllers. (pictured right).

For our test we utilized a projector displaying Google Earth and the control software in a blacked out lecture theatre. This allowed a clear view of the lights which are turned on and off in combination with various hand gestures to remotely control Google Earth. The movie below demonstrates the trial, we were going to leave the movie audio free but couldn’t resist dubbing in the The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Stokowski. The controller is Joel who quickly became a master of the technique.

Linking Google Earth to a remote vision based control interface is impressive and the fact it worked first time is testament to the teams clear instructions and software.

Of note to some users experiencing a ‘Grey Screen’ when loading the software, through trial and error we found that you also need to install WinVDIG version 1.1.1 (not the current 1.5 release). This enabled the control software to communicate with the webcam.

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

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Research or Private (?)

IMAGINA 2007 in Monaco was a bit of a eye opener, not in terms of the latest software or advances in rendering technologies but mainly as i was in the minority as a University Researcher. It was a corporate conference, so while I’m used to talking about the latest open source tools and low cost rapid modelling techniques for virtual city construction, the majority of the talk was about render farms and high profile clients.

Now this is what interests me – I am used to working with local councils who quite frankly don’t want to pay for any data and are often running hardware two or three years behind the cutting edge. As such the work is tailored to low cost, mass market output.

The majority of the work we saw showcased at IMAGINA were not architectural movies, they were marketing tools for clients paying 6 figure sums to sell apartments or offices. Now there is nothing wrong with this of course, it just makes you think that when you are working on a shoe-string budget to role a model of London out city wide how nice it would be to have the resources that high end clients bring.

Still, digitalurban is about visualising for the public and not about marketing…. are we right or should we ditch the councils and the moral high ground of public participation for 5 minute marketing movies to sell some apartments?

Of course not!

View the panorama of Monco Beach in quicktime virtual reality (2.9Mb)

Author Bio

Andy is Professor of Digital Urban Systems at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London.

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