In which I am yet again inspired by gaming tech:

Remember this?

Jon lay on a white leather divan, utterly unaware. The two girls who sat beside him every day in literature class were drawing on him with calligraphy brushes. They had duct taped tracked pens to each brush. A little remote infrared camera sat atop a humming portable projector. Another camera sat on a tripod beside it. On a monitor at their feet, Violet watched a digital iteration of Jon’s supine body slowly acquiring each mark, each brushstroke. The girls had made him into an infoboard, and seemed to be broadcasting the result. Both versions of Jon wore only swimming trunks.

That was inspired by Johnny Lee’s work on Wii-mote cameras. Check out what Mr. Lee is doing now:

This “vision video” indicates what Mr. Lee and his fellow designers would like to make possible with Project Natal, an extension of the Xbox technologies. He describes it better than I can:

The 3D sensor itself is a pretty incredible piece of equipment providing detailed 3D information about the environment similar to very expensive laser range finding systems but at a tiny fraction of the cost. Depth cameras provide you with a point cloud of the surface of objects that is fairly insensitive to various lighting conditions allowing you to do things that are simply impossible with a normal camera.

I post this because my friend Jerry told me he would be running into Mr. Lee Saturday evening (a fact that makes me positively green with envy), and I gave him explicit orders to corner the man and tell him that he had inspired a beginner science fiction writer. Given the publicity and utter coolness of Project Natal, I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

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