Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Reading Geek Night 14 follow-up

17th December, 2010

This Wednesday I presented at Reading Geek Night 14, on the subject of “Hacking Kinect”. I’d like to thank everyone for their nice and constructive comments following the presentation, I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and it is a topic on which I am very enthusiastic.

As a brief follow-up, the code that I demoed is from two sources. The original Kinect hack is now part of the OpenKinect project; you can fork their code and the simple testing app “glview” from their github. The algorithm I showed for tracking a pointing arm is also available on my own github. This has since been successfully hooked up to the robot arm I mentioned during the talk, for a very successful demo just 2 days after I did the presentation. If you have any questions about the code or have ideas for projects regarding this, I am always very open to them so please feel free to get in touch by some method through the Connect tab at the top of the page.

I would like to take this opportunity to note a few of my thoughts regarding the Reading Geek Night event. Jim announced on Tuesday that he has secured Copa for the next 12 months, so over 50 local geeks will continue to be able to meet and socialise monthly under the banner. I think it goes without saying that everyone who has ever attended is glad of Jim’s commitment, enthusiasm and continued organisation of the events. However, according to Jim, I have now managed to hit nearly 50% presentation rate for the Geek Night events ever held; while I am flattered that the community continues to sit through my ramblings, it is time that I hang my hat before everyone is sick of me. Therefore, I will not be presenting at Reading Geek Night for the foreseeable future (think at least 6-9 months from now); I will continue to be a great fan of the event, and will show up as often as my schedule permits, and I will promote the event to everybody I know who may be interested so it can continue its brilliant growth.

It should be noted, finally (I promise!), that Reading Geek Night cannot continue without speakers. Had I not stepped in 2 days before hand, we would have been entertained by only one (suitably excellent) presentation on Cyborgs the last evening. So as I have promised not to do this any more, it is time for others of the community to come forward and entertain, inform, and thoroughly geek out their peers. For me, my 6+ Geek Night presentations have strengthened my confidence, provided a friendly playground in which to work on my public speaking, and challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and hopefully improve as a result of that. So if you have something you think the usual crowd would be interested in, or something new for them entirely, please jump in and get involved. A presentation need only be 5 minutes long, and it is an extremely rewarding experience. If you would like to talk to me about presenting itself (not the content specifically) I have got some tips I have acquired over the last 14 months I would be more than happy to share, if you buy me the tea to keep me talking :-)

Until the next Geek Night.