7 days ago •
Chordata was born several years ago with the idea of using it to create art from human motion. It took a long time of technical development, but now that the system is up and running we're having so much fun collaborating with several artists to test the possibilities of the system on different disciplines.
Having the possibility of test it on real use cases and get feedback from real artists is invaluable to keep improving the usability and stability of the system!
A very special thank to Sergio and Valentina from Orange8, who provided us a really cool location in an old church for experimenting in Gaeta, Italy.
09/07/2018 at 08:47 •
One particularity on the development of this project is the amount of units needed on every prototype. Everytime we what to test something new we have to build around 15 sensing units (K-Ceptors). Anyone who has tried hand soldering SMD components know how easy is to get it wrong. So we are proud to introduce our new assistant in the lab: The testbed!
It allows us to troubleshoot the boards as soon as we take them out of the oven, saving us incredible amounts of time (and tears).
We would really like to thank Sparkfun Electronics for the inspiration they gave us by publishing their production process, and showing (amoung many other things) how they test their widgets with a pogobed.
08/24/2018 at 14:02 •
Since we’ve focused our communication efforts in an electronic-oriented website, we’ve been omitting an important part of our project: the 3D model and rigging we use to visualize the captures.
At the beginning we used a slightly modified version of a female model that we downloaded from blendswap.
The model was originally created by AlexanderLee and we really liked its shape, but it was not optimized for real time visualization, and the rigging didn’t match our requirements. This meant that Bruno (Chordata’s founder and a 3D animator himself) had to apply some changes on the fly and in a rush. Then, as it usually happens, we kept recycling the model that resulted from those quick changes.
The changes he made are subtle, and almost invisible to those who are not specialized on 3D modeling:
-Retopology: This is the process of rearranging the flow of polygons on a mesh to better respond to certain deformations. Check out the comparison images below: do you note how smooth the formation in the front area of the shoulder is with the new topology?
-New skinning and weight paint: The “weights” are just values inside each vertex that determine the amount of deformation each bone produces. To correctly set these values a process similar to how spray painting is done. It’s a long process that requires continuous adjustments on several areas over and over again…
Thanks François for this great contribution! Even if the captures can be applied to any arbitrary model and rigging, having a good default one for visualization is a great improvement that will allow us to improve Chordata and test it in better conditions.
08/24/2018 at 13:53 •
Before these, an external router (or smartphone as a hotspot) had to be used to create a small ad-hoc network, to which the microcomputer and the client PC had to connect.
Antonio saw this solution as impractical and inefficient. Instead he configured the microcomputer to act as an access point: on powering it exposes an SSID to which any WIFI capable device can connect.
In this way, not only do we eliminate unnecessary intermediate in the network, but also the portability of the system is considerably improved. For example, to capture in an external environment you only need to carry a laptop with charged batteries.
Thanks to Antonio for such a huge boost!
08/22/2018 at 19:30 •
Dear Chordata followers and collaborators, we have some awesome news to share with all of you: the day has come when we finally release the core of Chordata’s motion capture system. In this initial release, we’ll make our code repositories public so that anyone with a little bit of electronic and/or coding experience can go ahead an dive into the intricacies of our project. Those brave enough will also be able to download set up their own motion capture system by downloading the sources, and building the system from scratch. There’s at the moment no official documentation, but we’ll be happy to assist those adventure seekers that wish to take their chance at building Chordata with the materials at hand.
Be aware that this is an alpha release: we’ll keep on testing and improving the system in the next months (and we’ll obviously let you know about all of the improvements to come). One of the things that drives us when displaying the code is finally being able to expand our scope of collaborators, so feel free to write us through Hackaday discussion or with the form that you can find in our website.
That’s all fine and dandy, but there will be more to come. We’re preparing Chordata’s documentation so that anyone can access the core functionalities without the need of any sort of expertise. We’re also preparing a Tindie store in which you’ll be able to purchase our pre-built kits: this will enable people without knowledge of electronics to build and use Chordata so that they can apply its functionalities in their personal projects.
What this means is that we’re just beginning, as Chordata’s purpose is reaching both those who already work with electronics and the general public so that the worlds of visual art, game design, animation, movement computing, gait analysis, physical therapies, among others, can also benefit from the possibility of capturing motion in a more accessible and open system. We have no official release date, but we expect all of these additional releases to be done during the next semester.
Link to the sources repositories: https://gitlab.com/chordata
Or download the working files at: https://hackaday.io/project/27519-motion-capture-system-that-you-can-build-yourself#menu-files
Don’t hesitate to write us with all of your doubts (or simply to express your appreciation, as that’s what drives us further). We’re eager to see your reaction!
08/14/2018 at 18:27 •
Today we've launched a new video explaining all the features of Chordata, the Open Source motion capture system that you can build yourself. Make sure to check it out in our YouTube page and give it a like.
We’ve also launched our new website, which features links to all of our social networks. With all of these tools, you’ll now be able to follow the evolution of Chordata without missing a single step of the process.
We hope you enjoy them!
If you want to give a little help to the project, is as easy as giving it a like here on hackaday, which will help us to stand out on the Human-Computer Interface round, in the current edition of the Hackaday price.
07/29/2018 at 14:45 •
The motion capture hackathon took place last week . It was great to see the Chordata system used on so many different projects!
Here's a quick recap of the work done:
Arianna: a great prototype for an easy low cost DIY sensor attachment suit.
Antonio: networking improvements. SBC as an access point.
Emanuele: 3D modelling in Blender with mocap
Lorenzo and Matteo: Mocap suit as musical controller in Max/MSP
Kine: thanks for soldering all those sensors!
Massimo and Sara: processing SDK foundations. This gives the user a simplified interface to work with the mocap information.
Mauro and Alexia: Mocap suit as a musical controller in a Supercollider
Stefano: Unity 3D integration. Making visuals to go with the music.
Andrea: Some mysterious project (as usual)
We gathered lots of information about bugs, and possible interface improvements!
Not to forget, of course... The winner of the hackathon by unanimous decision: Valerio and his dinosaur capturing tail prosthesis!!
07/10/2018 at 15:03 •
On July the 21th the first Chordata motion capture Hackathon will take place!
It will be an occasion for users to test the system before the release, and for as to catch some bugs ;).
The idea is bring together performative artists and digital creators to explore the possibilities of mocap as an artistic discipline.
It will take place in Rome, at Workco coworking. If you live somewhere else a stream of capture data will be available to let you work from home!
If you want to participate fill the here, or just leave a comment below.
05/25/2018 at 17:32 •
In the last months we were working hard to achieve the stability in the capture required in any real world scenario, and to be honest the results are not bad at all. So it’s time now to stop with this “improving stability” direction and focus on making the minimal interface changes in order to release it.
We kept it to ourselves all this time because we felt like there was no sense in publishing a shaky, or hardly usable system. But at this point it would be great to have other hands rather than ours using and testing it, finding bugs or imagining a better user experience.
So, we set august 2018 as a first release date. Looking forward to it!
In the meantime we’ve been showcasing in a couple of places:
Mmkm STUDIO @ Open House Roma.
The friends of mmkm studio invited us to present a little performance with dance, music, and live-generated visuals. It was the first time we used the Chordata suit for what it was originally conceived for.. Three years ago!
But it was also the first time the suit was used on a real “stage” in front of other people, having to deliver correct results during a definite period of time, and it went pretty well. This was the kind of proof we needed to convince ourselves that the little bird is ready to leave the nest.
Hope you like it:
For this presentation, and most of the time we are using a 3D model by AlexanderLee, thanks Alexander for sharing it!
This is one of the most important programmers conference in Europe. It was great to be able to share the guts of the software implementation with so many people, we got tons of interesting opinions and advices.
We would like to thank Ugo Laurenti and Sara Di Bartolomeo for been there helping out with the stand, and also Flavia Laurencich and Juancho Casañas for the support.
Thanks a lot!
12/11/2017 at 20:32 •
It's been a while since I don't post any update here.
Last month we were very busy in the making of a better looking prototype to be shown on this year edition of the Maker Faire, here in Rome.This new prototype really shows the potentialities of the system, even tough several adjustments and calibration procedures should be still implemented.
Public's response was really positive and several people showed interest in accessing to a cheap and hackerable mocap system. This response convinces us on putting more effort on its development.
We also received some exciting collaboration proposals so perhaps we'll have some interesting announcements to make on the incoming weeks.