Building the proper screen

The last step in the project, after we were able to overcome all the technical difficulties like Kivy language, was the building of the a suitable screen for our purposes, this is a poke-able rear screen. Doing this we avoid the problem of calibrating the Kinect device each time and for each user, and foremost we could do the setup just once.

The first attempt of a rear screen

The first attempt of a rear screen

Our first attempt was building a very big frame and using a table cover or bed sheet as the screen. But we found several serious problems:

  1. The frame was too big for moving.
  2. The frame wasn’t rigif enough and with the interaction of the users it got deformation.
  3. The screen, after an user interaction, never got back to normal and keept deformed forever.

Among all the problems (and others just not commented here), the last one was totally frustrating, because all the platform depends on the stability of the screen. If the screen is not just plain, Kinect will detect that, and it will translate points to the Kivy application when there is no one actually. Everything was wrong.

Choosing the most beautiful tissue

Choosing the most beautiful tissue

The alternative was to use a stretch fabric with the capacity to recover the initial shape after any, virtually, number of interactions. Even with hard punchs. But we didn’t know where to buy that or if it was even cheap enough for our students’ pockets. Fortunatelly, Prof. William Turkel recommend us Fabric Land, with three locations in the city and a lot of options for fabrics. I must say that the place was a bit weird for me, with a bunch of middle age ladies looking for good materials. I felt like Mrs. Doubtfire there. Finally one girl, very gentile, young and nice, helped us to find what we wanted, and she sold us at the price of $5 per meter!

Colours pins! That's the most decorative we can be

Colours pins! That's the most decorative we can be

And with all the raw material ready, we got down to work and we built, after several tries, the proper rear and stretch screen. Just in the first test we discovered that accuracy was amazing. And the most interesting thing: somehow, the fact that the screen is elastic, demands interaction from the users and keeps the people playing. So, we can say mission accomplished!

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