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Hands-On With Microsoft's Touchless SDK

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-are-they-open-source-tomatoes? dept.

Microsoft 84

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister takes Microsoft's recently released Touchless SDK for a test spin, controlling his Asus Eee PC 901 with a Roma tomato. The Touchless SDK is a set of .Net components that can be used to simulate the gestural interfaces of devices like the iPhone in thin air — using an ordinary USB Webcam. Although McAllister was able to draw, scroll, and play a rudimentary game with his tomato, the SDK still has some kinks to work out. 'For starters, its marker-location algorithm is very much keyed to color,' he writes. 'That's probably an efficient way to identify contrasting shapes, but color response varies by camera and is heavily influenced by ambient light conditions.' Moreover, the detection routine soaked up 64 percent of McAllister's 1.6GHz Atom CPU, with the video from the Webcam soon developing a few seconds' lag that made controlling onscreen cursors challenging. Project developer Mike Wasserman offers a video demo of the technology."

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Play a rudimentary game with his tomato (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339765)

the SDK still has some kinks to work out.

Sure sounds like it.

Cameras in Digital TV converters (1)

Jizzbug (101250) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339769)

Is this why they have cameras built into the digital TV converter boxes?

Re:Cameras in Digital TV converters (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341227)

Is this why they have cameras built into the digital TV converter boxes?

No, I believe that was to allow them to spy on you [slashdot.org] and figure out who's watching.

Re:Cameras in Digital TV converters (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341255)

Sort of. Those cameras control the part of the interface that bills you extra if more than one person is in the room when "premium content" is being displayed and reports on you if you leave during commercials.

I'm joking. For now.

Re:Cameras in Digital TV converters (1)

delysid-x (18948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342551)

dude, patent that.

Typical Microsoft (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339783)

Sounds like a piece of crap to me.

turd post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339787)

A couple weeks ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john, Barack Obama -- the messiah himself -- came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was busy and in any case I was sure the secret service wouldn't even let me shake his hand.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as his cock -- or at least as I imagined it!

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a liberal democrat and had been on the Obama train since last year. Of course I'd had fantasies of meeting him, sucking his cock and balls, not to mention sucking his asshole clean, but I never imagined I would have the chance. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of Barack Obama, the chosen one.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big half nigger cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was that Barack Obama wasn't there to see my loyalty and wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit. It's even better than listening to an Obama speech!

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of Barack Obama dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful democrat.

Re:turd post (1)

Kooty-Sentinel (1291050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341285)

That was disturbing in so. many. levels. I mean that was close to tubgirl or goatse..... if not worse.

Re:turd post (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342055)

You need to explore 'Help & Preferences' to avoid this.

This was pounded into me when I read your post, and so help me, clicked on the 'parent' post you replied to.
I know better, but did so anyway.
I'm going to scrub my brain out with bleach now.

Re:turd post (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342095)

You need to explore 'Help & Preferences' to avoid this.

with this..

Moreover, the detection routine soaked up 64 percent of McAllister's 1.6GHz Atom CPU

I can't stop laughing, I mean it took years for me to finally dump my beloved P3 1ghz, and I feel the pain of seeing your light weight processor struggle under the load... Of what, a possible future UI element? Either way, to include that snippet in the summary was beyond hilarious. Methinks he should just go spend 50 bucks at Newegg and get a dual core AMD processor if processor usage in this case really does warrant such attention.

Gesture interfaces (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339847)

Can it recognise that someone's about to pick up a chair?

Re:Gesture interfaces (1)

kamikazearun (1282408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340033)

I believe it will react with the BSD.

Re:Gesture interfaces (3, Funny)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340057)

BSD is what caused the chair to be picked up in the first place. I think the reaction is a BSOD.

BCOD (1)

kamikazearun (1282408) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340137)

Brown Chair Of Death. There! I coined it.

Re:Gesture interfaces (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340541)

Ballmer Seat of Death?

Re:Gesture interfaces (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341825)

No, that's Satan's rectum poised over the face of the world.

The last man standing (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341111)

Can it recognise that someone's about to pick up a chair?
.

In a financial crisis the prize goes to the last man standing

Microsoft is the first U.S. industrial corporation in ten years to earn a AAA bond rating from S&P and Moody's.

More than 70 percent of S&P ratings for U.S. nonfinancial companies are currently below investment grade and classified as "junk", or speculative-grade bonds. That's up from 32 percent in 1980. Microsoft wins top credit ratings from S&P, Moody's [reuters.com]

PS2 Eyetoy... desktop & kiosk use... (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339849)

Sounds a lot like the stuff developers have been doing with the Eyetoy since PS2... I wonder if this tech will show up on the 360, and they're just getting the kinks out now with this stuff? I don't know if people would use that practically since they would have to switch from having their hands up in the air to down on the keyboard/mouse for various things... Maybe it can be used for kiosks for people who worry about germs...

Re:PS2 Eyetoy... desktop & kiosk use... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340823)

Maybe it can be used for kiosks for people who worry about germs...

... Conjures up mental image of shoppers at a suburban mail flailing in space at some computer kiosk ...

I really wish you wouldn't have said that.

Re:PS2 Eyetoy... desktop & kiosk use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25345211)

Heh, don't worry, it'll probably be just a small swipe for simple "previous/next" or something

Re:PS2 Eyetoy... desktop & kiosk use... (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341625)

Sounds a lot like the stuff developers have been doing with the Eyetoy since PS2...

Way before that... A guy did this at the University of Michigan back in 1991 or so. There was a little Mac science fair thing at the campus computer store in the Union, and this one guy blew all the other contestants away with his touchless interactive project. Wish I remembered his name.

Re:PS2 Eyetoy... desktop & kiosk use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25342943)

There is also ToySight Gold http://www.freeverse.com/tsg/ [freeverse.com] which I played with years ago.

It's Open Source (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339855)

if you consider MS-PL Open Source.

Re:It's Open Source (5, Informative)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340115)

If you're interested in a truely Open Source version of this, Pygame [pygame.org] has camera and computer vision functions in the SVN that let you do exactly this. I could track two different colored objects in realtime (30fps) with no lag, on a 433mhz OLPC XO.

It is Linux only at the moment, but Windows and OS X support is likely to be finished before the next release.

Re:It's Open Source (1)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340613)

Hmm, I guess I bought into the FUD. I didn't realize MS-PL was OSI approved.

Regardless, I posted a video to Youtube showing multiple object tracking on an OLPC XO [youtube.com] .

Re:It's Open Source (1)

pinchies (1275404) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341857)

I think this is an example of how the GPU is much more suited for image analysis. I'd be very interested in exactly how this was managed on a XO! I have an 8 year old mac running at 733MHz, but it has a 9800 ATI which allows it to do real time image effects with my webcam while also only using about 60% cpu. See http://www.samkass.com/blog/page4/page4.html [samkass.com] for some examples of what one person has done using webcams. Its using the Quartz Composer from apple developer tools. Edit: I found out about the XO: http://eclecti.cc/olpc/pixel-perfect-collision-between-real-and-virtual-objects [eclecti.cc] Seems its' just really efficient code!

Re:It's Open Source (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340211)

MS-PL is entirely open source and OSI-compliant, you tool.

Re:It's Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341185)

The FSF and OSI consider it open source and it's GPLv3 compatible.

Code efficiency (0, Troll)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339859)

the detection routine soaked up 64 percent of McAllister's 1.6GHz Atom CPU
.

You really don't expect efficient code from Microsoft, do you?

Re:Code efficiency (2, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339943)

Maybe he should try testing it on a real computer next time.... 64% of an underpowered device is not much to complain about.

  See my sig, I'm no MS apologist

Re:Code efficiency (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339953)

I would say that the tested device represents the comuting ability of the target market for the software.

LPF? (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339993)

You know, someone should have really told these guys about this thing called a low-pass filter. It's very easily implemented in hardware (heck, most DSPs can do it rather handily), and uses very little power. A TI dsp would have no problem handling this kind of load.

As for mediocre hardware, yes, the EEE is a little underpowered compared to a desktop. But, when you consider the fact that a 200 MHz dsp can encode NTSC video in realtime, chewing up 60% of the CPU is just poor implementation. That's ~1 GHz on a fully pipelined, superscalar processor, with a heatsink, to do what an embedded DSP can do with oh, say about 50-100 MHz of processing power, without a heatsink, using a RISC processor, running on AA batteries.

And this yet one of the reasons I believe programmers should have to learn hardware. They wouldn't write code so inefficiently if they only understood the typical hardware engineer's approach to these problems.

Re:LPF? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340055)

It's not necessarily poor implementation as much as it is trying to use a hammer to turn a screw. Like you said, DSP's are made for the job. It wouldn't cost all that much to put a little DSP lovin' into a subnotebook in the form of a co-processor.

Re:LPF? (0, Redundant)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340315)

From the summary

Moreover, the detection routine soaked up 64 percent of McAllister's 1.6GHz Atom CPU, with the video from the Webcam soon developing a few seconds' lag that made controlling onscreen cursors challenging.

And your text

A TI dsp would have no problem handling this kind of load.

My only reaction was "oh shit, Microsoft software using a high amount of CPU for a given task?! SAY IT ISN'T SO!!!" Sorry ...

Re:LPF? (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340901)

Uh... DSPs are specialized for that kind of stuff, whereas the Atom is just a cut down x86 processor, and a pretty crappy one at that. But I do agree with the rest of your post.

Actual numbers (2, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343651)

Okay, I know it's a little late to post this, but these are the numbers I'm getting from my EEE 900. I'm running a 3-tap FIR filter to average all the pixels in a dummy frame. This doesn't include the time it would take to pull the frame from the CMOS/CCD sensor.

On battery alone:

Resolution: 160 x 120 : 4223 frames, (422.300000 per second)
Resolution: 320 x 240 : 849 frames, (84.900000 per second)
Resolution: 640 x 480 : 303 frames, (30.300000 per second)
Resolution: 720 x 480 : 269 frames, (26.900000 per second)
Resolution: 800 x 600 : 171 frames, (17.100000 per second)
Resolution: 1024 x 768 : 118 frames, (11.800000 per second)
Resolution: 1280 x 1024 : 71 frames, (7.100000 per second)
Resolution: 1600 x 1200 : 30 frames, (3.000000 per second)

On AC its a little better

Resolution: 160 x 120 : 5758 frames, (575.800000 per second)
Resolution: 320 x 240 : 1675 frames, (167.500000 per second)
Resolution: 640 x 480 : 321 frames, (32.100000 per second)
Resolution: 720 x 480 : 353 frames, (35.300000 per second)
Resolution: 800 x 600 : 276 frames, (27.600000 per second)
Resolution: 1024 x 768 : 169 frames, (16.900000 per second)
Resolution: 1280 x 1024 : 101 frames, (10.100000 per second)
Resolution: 1600 x 1200 : 60 frames, (6.000000 per second)

Given the sensor resolution is 1280 x 1024, it appears their algorithm uses the full resolution. They could probably get much better results if they used 320 x 240. A little speed binning goes a long way.

Respond to this post if you're interested in the code.

Re:Code efficiency (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341339)

Troll???? I guess the truth is bothersome to some.

Re:Code efficiency (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341547)

The problem with his statement is that you can go look at the code and see if it is/isn't inefficient for what it does. He was trolling with an inflammatory one liner designed to get people arguing over whether it's possible for us MS geeks to actually write decent software.

Hint: the answer is 'yes'.

Re:Code efficiency (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341723)

"He was trolling with an inflammatory one liner designed to get people arguing over whether it's possible for us MS geeks to actually write decent software.

Hint: the answer is 'yes'."

Then put your money where your mouth is...show us.

Maybe your defination of 'decent' is different...

Re:Code efficiency (1)

Tawnos (1030370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341773)

http://www.codeplex.com/touchless/SourceControl/DirectoryView.aspx?SourcePath=&changeSetId=25142 [codeplex.com]

That was very hard. I had to spend a whole 10 seconds searching the internet.

Now, burden of proof is on you: what is wrong with the source code, available there? Isn't this the basis of the OSS "many eyes" theory?

Re:Code efficiency (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342147)

I humbly stand corrected.

I noticed after I posted that this was being released as OSS, and cringed...alas, my fanboy-ism has led me astray again!

I will say that this is a good thing, instead of the FUD I flung out earlier.

Thank you for calling me on this.

I would rather be ridiculed than just 'plain stupid', and much prefer to be corrected than dismissed.

BTW, thanks for the link...I was knee-jerk wrong, all the way around.

*hangs head, sheepishly*

Re:Code efficiency (0, Troll)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342999)

Hint: the answer is 'yes'.
.

Hint: the answer is really 'Vista', and efficient it ain't.

Re:Code efficiency (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343009)

He was trolling with an inflammatory one liner designed to ...
.

Unless you can read minds, how do you know what the comment was designed to do? It appears that you are the one being the provocateur here.

iPhone? More like Eyetoy (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339863)

While it's very vogueish to make comparisons with Apple products lately, Sony's Cambridge studio are the group that spring to mind when it comes to gestural webcam-based interfaces. On a related note, their original Eyetoy tech demos were similarly "keyed to color", using large foam props, although the end product worked on skintones and therefore was heavily dependent on good lighting and contrast. They patented a "wand" with coloured LEDs back in 2005 which provided a reasonable compromise between the two (a month or two before the Wii Controller popped up, and made it all look passe).

Re:iPhone? More like Eyetoy (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341751)

yea, while i appreciate ingenuity (on Sony's part, not MS doing this years later), the Wii-mote interface seems a much better solution--at least until MS can reduce the processor overhead to a reasonable level. for now though, using a hand-held device to track physical gestures seems like the most viable option.

it's not necessarily a problem with using optical sensors (the Wii uses IR to track user gestures also), but the web-cam approach is too encumbered at the moment by the need for more advanced machine vision. perhaps if they can develop small IR-LEDs that you can strap to your finger tips that would eliminate the problems with recognizing skin tones in different lighting conditions.

what does barack obama have to say about this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339873)

he's your new fucking god.

if he doesn't deliver all the goods the minute he gets into office there are going to be riots and democrats will be pulled out onto the streets and beaten with ax handles. i can see it happening. you faggot democrats have no power over anything and your boy cant do shit about whats going on today. you're all going to look like a bunch of ineffective shits just like you do in the house and senate today. i'm laughing at you fucks now because i know what the future already holds.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (1, Offtopic)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339887)

he's your new fucking god.

Maybe I'm parsing this incorrectly, but you seem to have a somewhat unique insight into his abilities in bed.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (-1, Troll)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25339901)

And when that future comes, we Democrats will piss on the Republicans who caused it.

Please mod me and parent both as troll.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340141)

the republicans are the same bitches as you. fucking shithead faggot bitches. all of you.

go suck another dick whore.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (-1, Offtopic)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340329)

Truthfully, I don't affiliate with any political party, I was simply making a point.

Yes, they're both the same.

I vote for the candidate that can do the job or I don't vote at all.

McCain will have a heart attack if elected, leaving Palin in office. Fuck that.

Obama will be assassinated in his first week; sadly, as he truly could do good for this country. I'm not sure I trust Biden with Obama's oversight.

We are truly and royally screwed. Things like MS Touchless SDK are only a diversion to keep those of you who don't already realize it from doing so.

When I say we, I certainly do mean the world, not just the US. Palin will have an itchy trigger finger and lead us to nuclear war. I don't trust Biden not to do the same. McCain, if he survives his impending heart attack, will lead us to financial ruin. It will be a friggin' miracle if Obama is allowed to live through his first term.

This, my friends, is our world political situation, ignoring all other problems in the world. The US is leading the way to world suffering and the only thing that can be done about it is dissolution of the US government in its current form and removal of privately owned corporations from control of the US currency, by any means necessary.

I have plenty of karma to burn and a country to serve in the best way I am able. Mod me as you feel appropriate, but do your own research first and determine the most likely outcome of any current US presidential or VP candidate taking office before you do so.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340493)

not that this is on topic at all but I have karma to burn. McCain may be old but he won't be having a heart attack as soon as he gets into office. If he was going to have one, hes under enough pressure just campaigning. Same goes for Obama. It's not like they're going to decrease the security he gets when he gets into office. He will be just as protected as he is now if not more so. No matter who gets elected, it is very unlikely that their VP will take over. It is good to evaluate the VP with the pres because they will reflect the values of their running mate as well. But don't assume that they will be in charge if their running mate gets elected. Your negative pessimistic attitude just reinforces itself in others and further erodes confidence in the United States of America. Secret Service won't let Obama get assassinated and McCain is not in such terrible health that he is going to have a heart attack the day he gets into office. We will probably have seen more time with Cheney in charge of the country in the end than either Palin or Biden will spend in charge.

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25348663)

McCain may be old but he won't be having a heart attack as soon as he gets into office. If he was going to have one, hes under enough pressure just campaigning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a25jieLVOgw&feature=related [youtube.com]

Re:what does barack obama have to say about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340547)

like many other slashfags, it's apparent that you dont know jack shit about anything. go watch g4 or whatever it is you do when not wasting your time here.

Microsoft being Microsoft, again. Another Vista. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25339955)

The usual Microsoft junk: The first 3 major versions don't work very well.

A lot of people think that Microsoft is a software company that is abusive. That's a mistake. Microsoft is an abuse company that sells software.

Re:Microsoft being Microsoft, again. Another Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340439)

Reverting mod.

I have an EEE PC (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340003)

Running Linux. And the voice commands actually work!

I'm not sure why I'd bother to chew up my battery with the webcam when I can just talk to the thing. If anything, it seems to me like the voice recognition would be far more promising than using the webcam.

Okay, I know how this is going to sound, and I'm really not trying to troll, so please bear with me. I suppose there's a contingent of people who like the thought of waving their hands in the air to control their computer (Wii users?!), but I just don't see this going anywhere, especially because Microsoft is involved. If you look at their history, they typically get things wrong the first few times. Whatever promise this technology holds, I expect that:

  1. Any really cool technique will be patented by Microsoft and doomed to obscurity by their poor implementation of same; and
  2. It really is easier for most people to talk to their computer, or use the mouse/keyboard to control their computer, than it is to wave.

Re:I have an EEE PC (2, Informative)

Issildur03 (1173487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340089)

I tried it out, and the drawing demo seems to be the most promising application. In the absence of a touch-screen monitor, this could be a lot better than an external touchpad. And there's definitely something neat about using a tomato to play snake. Still a long way to go, though...

Re:I have an EEE PC (2, Informative)

sp332 (781207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340163)

  1. Any really cool technique will be patented by Microsoft and doomed to obscurity by their poor implementation of same; and

From the license:
"(B) Patent Grant- Subject to the terms of this license, including the license conditions and limitations in section 3, each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license under its licensed patents to make, have made, use, sell, offer for sale, import, and/or otherwise dispose of its contribution in the software or derivative works of the contribution in the software."

Re:I have an EEE PC (0, Flamebait)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340333)

This is "copyright backwards" -- you have to make sure that your code IS A DERIVATIVE WORK to get patent grant. You will be in violation if you developed it "too independently" from Microsoft.

Re:I have an EEE PC (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340843)

That's an extraordinarily easy condition to meet given the copyleft nature of the license. It's in fact a much more succinct version of the same concept called out in section 11 of the GPLv3. Quoted in part from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html [gnu.org] :

"Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version."

Where "essential patent claims" and "contributor version" are defined at excruciating length over the course of the rest of the section.

Re:I have an EEE PC (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25344261)

Where "essential patent claims" and "contributor version" are defined at excruciating length over the course of the rest of the section.

But does "contribution in the software" in Microsoft license mean the same? What happens with code under both licenses if none of the original code is recognizable yet patented functionality is preserved? As I understand it, GPL has all-encompassing "can't re-license under any other terms but this license" mechanism, and license is tied to the body of licensed code, not its individual parts, patches or projects, therefore everything can be modified (up to being replaced) or re-used in other projects unless it's intended to be distributed under different license.

GPLV3 says:

A contributor's "essential patent claims" are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version.

so the patent claims are licensed to all users as they WOULD be infringed by making derivative work if the patent grant did not exist, but they apply to all GPL'ed work, not only for some selected stretch of source code that can be demonstrated that it IS a derivative work that can be traced to some original "contribution in the software". User can re-implement some contribution that triggered patent grant, and as long as new code would not infringe on any other claims of the same patent or other patents, patent grant still applies. Patents are still a massive minefield, but simple reimplementation of functionality is safe.

A version that limits the scope of patent grant allows crippling of the original contribution that can not be overcome by others because they do not have patent grant that applies to new code, so unless Microsoft has something that prevents this problem, "copyright backwards" and "this code is too good to be still covered" still applies.

(I am not a lawyer, however I am a software developer who has to avoid licensing conflicts in his everyday work).

Re:I have an EEE PC (1)

c1t1z3nk41n3 (1112059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25343189)

Why one or the other? Why couldn't I be dictating an email to my system while using hand gestures to simultaneously do something else? Perhaps web navigation. People often see a new input method and try to envision it as a primary input device when it could be perfectly serviceable alongside something else. I wasn't around so does anyone remember if when the mouse was just coming out of research people saying it would never work?

Didn't Toshiba do something similar to this once? (1)

argiedot (1035754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340011)

I remember reading a year ago that some Toshiba Qosmios could recognize gestures. This [pocket-lint.co.uk] is not the article I read, but the first I found.

Also, I don't think it's fair to kick Microsoft over this. It seems to be a bit of an experiment. I'd love to see this on Linux though, another step closer to the Minority Report world.

Re:Didn't Toshiba do something similar to this onc (2, Interesting)

cowlobster (1223326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340083)

you're a bit late, it's been done already, but with a wii remote. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~johnny/projects/wii/ [cmu.edu]

OpenCV (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25340239)

Intel made a very nice open source library for computer vision. It's called OpenCV [http://sourceforge.net/projects/opencvlibrary/] and can be used to track pixels (or hands, or heads...).

I first saw it on Pycon Brasil 2008, with EHCI python bindings [http://www.slideshare.net/dannyxyz22/ehci-interao-com-computador-atravs-de-webcam-presentation].

Microsoft library is not a big deal... I made a script to switch KDE desktops using face moviments with 45 lines of python script + ehci, including a lot of useless code and testing/debuging prints. :-)

Thiago F Pappacena

better cross platform alternatives (5, Informative)

nan0 (620897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340249)

opencv [sourceforge.net] has nice python bindings, runs on mac, win & nix.
openframeworks [openframeworks.cc] wraps c++ like processing [processing.org] wraps java, also has opencv bindings.

MS appears to basically doing optical flow & color tracking. the above libs can do those, and more, and are great for programmers and nonprogrammers alike. tho if you really hate code, you may rather use max/msp/jitter or gem/pd [puredata.info] .

Interesting technology (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340425)

Was just trying to watch the video (on my desktop, Linux). It hangs terribly and there is zero sound. I don't really see the reason for this video to eat up so much resources at that qality. Is the technology it is presenting of similar superiority? Is it designed for low spec portable devices?

Re:Interesting technology (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341843)

My problem was the opposite, I had a really crappy narrative for my 'screenshot'...no video.

Meh, no telling what these clowns (MS) are up to again, but I can take comfort in their consistency:
1. It will be buggy
2. It will have security issues
3. It will cost mucho $$$$ to maintain licenses
4. Steve Ballmer will do another 'Developers! Developers!, Developers!' speech about it
5. It WON'T run on Linux, or the MS codemonkeys aren't done yet
6. It will cost mucho $$$$ to maintain licenses (did I say that already?)
7. The ISO will be bought^Wvoting this as a 'standard'

P.S. "Tea, Earl Grey, hot."

A useful application. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340687)

This could be used to great effect with people that have handicaps that prevent the use of standard interfaces. Gestures that they CAN perform can be programed to take the place of gestures they cannot, ones that we all take for granted.

Why in god's name do we even need this? (-1, Flamebait)

Maguscrowley (1291130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340747)

Why does M$ come up with this crap that no one needs on a desktop in an attempt to try to redefine the desktop experience? It has not worked. They should just stick to buying out and marketing good ideas made by other people. They need to learn that they've always been much more successful with the business aspect of IT.

Re:Why in god's name do we even need this? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340819)

Microsoft has a bunch of labs/departments dedicated to just making stuff until one catches on... a bit like Google, but instead of being "everyone", its some departments. So they'll make stuff like this or DeepZoom, which may or may not catch on... others like Spec# may have more potential.

RTFA (1)

iznogud (162711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25340989)

It's not the official Microsoft release. It's a home project of one (MS) programmer. But, hey, "Hands-On With Touchless SDK made by some dude who happens to work for Microsoft" isn't much of a headline, right?

That reminds me (1)

jfroelich (1022159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341171)

You can type "killer aunt delete all" with sign language now too!

Re:That reminds me (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341935)

Yes, but expect a 'vacation' at gitmo for trying this.

Oh, and be VERY careful with the Roomba [irobot.com] !

"Save Big with Robot Value Packs
The smarter way to get it done"

*note to self* Never (again) post [hic!] drunk!

Re:That reminds me (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342291)

Showing it the middle finger does the same thing.

Finally, good press for Microsoft. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341303)

This shows that Microsoft is, in fact, still a major innovator in new intellectual properties. Despite all the ridiculous hits against Vista (don't hate it until you've tried it for more than 20 minutes), we all have to remember that most of the technologies we use today, from the Mouse to the Windows UI to the spreadsheet and database and even USB are all enhanced by Microsoft's commitment to new technologies.

Yes, I am a PC, and so are most other people.

PS - I do not work for Microsoft in any way, nor do I have any investments with them.

Re:Finally, good press for Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341433)

First off, you sound like a marketing campaign. Second off, Microsoft didn't invent the mouse and neither did Apple. Spreadsheets were NOT created by Microsoft. USB ?!? Are you smoking crack ?!

Sorry, but you are either a troll or someone who is employed by the PR firm handling Microsoft. Vista is trash, you know it and MS knows it.

Another "concept car?" (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25341663)

Microsoft isn't alone in this, but I do get the impression that they have a few research units that they fund as window dressing, that are constantly presenting exciting demos of pretty cool stuff that never make it into actual products and never will.

Like Detroit's "concept cars."

Or Xerox PARC's Alto.

Or a Fortune 500 company I worked at that collapsed with astonishing speed. Little groups were always coming up with amazing things, and higher-ups were always clucking admiringly over them, but the little groups never had the internal political connections to get them turned into actual products.

The actual decisions on what got made into products were based on what the salespeople that called on the bank CEOs had to say. And the bank CEOs never told the salespeople that they were ready to write $100 million dollar checks for smell navigation or a spreadsheet for calculating music or whatever.

(Probably one of the things that makes Apple what it is, for good or for bad, is that it's run by a guy who has pretty good taste in ideas and is willing to back good ideas just because he thinks they are good).

Frost 4iSt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341677)

Why noT? It's qu_ick

Ah, yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25341983)

Once again, Microsoft takes a simple concept and finds a way to complicate it. Way to go, Redmondians!

Inadequate machine, perhaps? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25342257)

...released Touchless SDK for a test spin, controlling his Asus Eee PC 901

Although McAllister was able to draw, scroll, and play a rudimentary game with his tomato, the SDK still has some kinks to work out. 'For starters, its marker-location algorithm is very much keyed to color,' he writes. 'That's probably an efficient way to identify contrasting shapes, but color response varies by camera and is heavily influenced by ambient light conditions.' Moreover, the detection routine soaked up 64 percent of McAllister's 1.6GHz Atom CPU, with the video from the Webcam soon developing a few seconds' lag that made controlling onscreen cursors challenging.

Perhaps a machine would be in order that didn't go to the extreme of energy-saving and low-quality manufacturing. Start from the top side and then work down.

Totally cool... a decade ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25343567)

It has been available commercially for a while. The dutch distributor of acorn (yes, that one) showcased it in, oh, '97 or so. That distributor had a clear business focus on retarded kids. Guess who's all grown up now?

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