Roll your own hackerhat

August 3, 2010

Since I wrote about the Hackerhat a couple of weeks ago, the response I’ve gotten about it have broken down into about three types

type 1:“That sounds interesting, what does it do?”

type 2:“Oooh! Can I have one?”

type 3:“Are you going to use to to take over the world?”

I was a bit confused about the third one, but it turns out that there’s some book where a video game designer uses augmented reality to inspire a revolt against multinational corporations. Okay. Not part of my original plan, but I’ll leave it as an option.

Anyway, in response to the “type 2” people:I have actually always planned to make the hackerhat software and hardware an open-source design. That means that anyone can modify the design, build their own hackerhat, even sell them if they want. I just haven’t released anything because there hasn’t been anything finished to release and I didn’t want people to sue me after tumbling down the stairs because the image processor crashed.

Now, however, I have a working “alpha” version of the hackerhat , which comes with all the software and a description of how to put together the hardware. The goal is that it can be put together out of stuff that most people have lying around–a laptop, iPod, baseball cap, cheap webcam, but also be flexible enough to accommodate all sorts of hardware–different displays, cameras, processing computers, etc.

If you want to try it out, all you have to do is download the package here, and get the Processing environment here(Processing is a Java-like programming language for image processing).

People in Davis:If you want to try it out before actually building one, just shoot me a message somewhere and you can try out mine.

And if you’re still wondering about what it does, here’s a brief overview of some of the cool features

Cool stuff it does right now:

Gestural/motion tracking interface

Object recognition

Background photo logging

Integrates with Twitter

Lets you finger-paint in midair

Object-recognition-driven scripting–run specified Java and Processing code when the hackerhat recognizes a particular object

Makes you just that much more sexy

Cool stuff that it will do in the near future

More layers!(and a pluggable layer system so anyone can easily write and distribute them)

Better object recognition

Multiple resolution support

APIs to allow layers to easily pull down and display web content

Cool stuff that’s just kicking around in my head(but might make it into a release eventually):

Google Goggles integration

Voice recognition

AR “profiles” for other users

Integration with Skynet artificial intelligence system.


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