/ Science / Kinect-based ‘digital mirror’ sees through skin

Kinect-based ‘digital mirror’ sees through skin

Andrea on April 23, 2014 - 2:35 pm in Science

Before a certain point in development, babies are incapable — neurologically, it seems — of seeing themselves in a mirror. Rather, they see some other baby crawling around, taking up their space, staring back at them from a disturbingly familiar room. Then, quite suddenly and reliably, the brain acquires the ability to empathize and to see the world from another’s perspective — we can understand that a reflection is a non-entity, and over time this sort of understanding continues; we begin to understand that other people exist as we do, and that they have their own sets of feelings and priorities.

It all begins with the mirror, however: as we come to understand ourselves as a part of the material world, we naturally draw equivalencies to other, similarly material people. It’s the beginning of true understanding that we are not the only personality in the universe.

Yet a mirror shows us only the exterior of our bodies; how fundamentally might we change people’s worldview by letting them look beneath the skin to see the full reality of their bodies? Later this month, the Computer Human Interaction conference will host an art project that hopes to do just that. Previously on display at the Museum of Arts and Crafts, this remarkable, multi-disciplinary effort is both educational and artistic. It combines scientific data and methodologies with an artist’s ambitions of consciousness-raising. View a video of the technology below.

The only problem with the project is in the barrier to entry; from start to finish, a participant needs to cordon off more than three hours to see their insides splayed out on screen. That sounds like a fine investment to people like me, but precludes the sort of drop-in users that this technology seems to demand. If you want to use this magic mirror you’ll need a PET scan, an X-Ray, and an MRI scan to completely detail all your internal bits and bobs. That means that you have to take an injection of radionuclide, get blasted by X-rays, and then sit inside a giant super-magnet. Though this should all be safe (the by far is the X-ray CT scan) it will scare a lot of people away from the project.

mirror 2Those who do push through, however, will have all this data analyzed and compiled into a multi-flavored matrix that can be rendered out in real time. Microsoft’s Kinect camera then steps in to do what it does best, capturing the user’s motions and communicating those motions to an outside 3D model. Thus, users can see their bodies animated in real-time, from the inside out.

This sort of technology is mostly useful to the public, but a version of this idea could end up being a powerful tool to help doctors communicate with patients. Augmented reality is gaining traction in medicine for diagnosis, education, or even practical uses like assisting in surgery. This is just a glimpse of the sorts of creative applications we’re bound to see over the next several years.

Source: Games – Geek.com

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