AlgoMantra, b. 2005

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
CamPong 1.0: Adventures in haptic control
A few months ago I was toying with motion capture using the camera on my Nokia N70 and made a very primitive prototype of the classic arcade game Pong, but with only one paddle. I just thought I'll share the code now that I have a fast connection for a few days.

The camera simply tracks any black object in the periphery of the visual field, against a whitish background. The blue trace of the black object in the periphery drives the paddle. When the paddle hits the ball, the phone says "Pong!".

So it may not work everywhere, but it served as a stepping stone for our later, far more ambitious work - the Parab0xx (video releasing shortly), which we demonstrated in Bombay on Nov 3rd, 2007.

You can download the Python source code here. [LINK] Let me know if you have any problems with it by leaving a pheromone trail, err....comment here. You need to have Python installed on your S60, okay?

Some theoretical notes:

This essay by William Bogard places my recent work into a theoretical space I'm quite satisfied with:

Presumably, if man could see what touches him, it would ease his fear of it. Canetti, like Foucault, sees visibility, optical space, as a trap; what is observed can be known and thus controlled. But he notes another way that man loses his fear of being touched, and that is simply through being touched itself.

There are two easy strategies of making the cellphone motion-aware - 1) moving the phone itself and using its video feed as the control signal 2) moving an object to be tracked in front of the camera (this is the one I chose for CamPong).

The cool thing about 1) is that its a great way to communicate with the phone for any person holding the phone. Like every time you shoot down a spaceship you feel a vibration. Some of this trickery is already in the market (Wii?)

In number 2) there is the elegance of dance, like Tom Cruise demonstrates in Minority Report.

AlgoMantra Labs is currently very interested in using motion-detection techniques using a mobile phone, specifically those that do not involve the use of an accelerometer (the Nokia 5500 makes me dr00l, though). I do not expect gyroscopes to become ubiquitous among mobile handsets anytime soon.

While reading a paper by Drab & Artner I came across a mention of Mozzies, a game that was released with Siemens Sx1 in 2003, also using the S60 platform.

The Camera is used to detect the motion. The mosquitoes can be seen as they are placed on the live video feed from the camera. Aiming is done by moving the phone around so that the mosquitoes are at the cross hair.

3 Comments: Post a Comment
Blogger Sergey said ..

Hi! Can you check your download link for campong source code - it is not working? I am very interested in how exactly you did this.

2:55 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said ..

Sergey, sorry for the trouble. I had to delete the xwiki where my code was uploaded.

And I'm currently updating my PC too after a wipe. I'll have to get the code from my phone to PC, which I shall do hopefully soon!

Email me at algomantra (((AT) gmail...and I'll mail you a copy asap.

2:59 AM 
Blogger KYiS said ..

I've sent a mail to your gmail account but it came back undelivered so I'll ask here: I am wondering if you could send the source of camPong to me please? (I'm asking because it goes way back, it might be lost in the depths of an old hard drive ^^)
Huge Thanks in advance if you can.

kevin.mailletcontoz (4T} gmail
kyosiris (4T} free (D0T} fr

5:17 AM