Your very hands can create worlds, landscapes of your doing and islands of your imagination. With the help of Kinect and the Magrathea, a dynamic landscape generator, users may now create digital representations of their actual creations. Developers Timothy Sherman and Paul Miller, the brains behind Magrathea, released this video showcasing the program’s features. In the video, the Kinect is positioned above the table’s surface and therefore recognizes the table as the blank canvass. Any objects then that provides depth and shape are then recognized as potential landscapes. The Kinect detects this from the table and sends the input to the computer which in turn, creates a digital landscape from the objects.

Here is the developers’ description of the Magrathea:

“Magrathea uses the kinect camera to dynamically generate a landscape out of any structure or object. The kinect takes an depth reading of what’s built on the table in front of it, which is then rendered live onscreen as terrain using openFrameworks and openGL.

The depth reading is mapped to a polygonal mesh, which then has textures dynamically applied to it based on the height and slope of the structure. For example, steep slopes are given a rocky texture, and flatter areas a grassy one. As the user builds and removes, the landscape correspondingly grows and sinks out of the ocean, shifting into a new configuration.”

With the Magrathea’s development and the Kinect’s affordable price, we will soon see this once expensive technology in the hands of any consumer.

For more information, visit the projects’ Vimeo Website.

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