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I first met John Boiles in October 2009 at Dorkbot Austin, when he was an undergrad engineer at UT, and was presenting an RC car he’d hacked so that it could be driven just by tilting his iPod. He’s since graduated and gone to work for Yelp, and in that time his extracurricular projects have included a set of iPod controlled dance floor lights that synchronize with your rump-shakin’, a combination Kegerator and beer-data-logging suite, and an upgunned version of his smartphone steering system that works with a full-size automobile.

His most recent project weds Microsoft’s Kinect to Garry’s Mod, a popular sandbox game based on Valve’s Source physics engine, via PrimaSense’s recently-released OpenNI framework and some custom C++ code.

The net result is a system that recognizes your movements and allows you to interact with virtual objects using the sophisticated physics of Valve’s engine, as the embedded video demonstrates. Don’t miss the bit at 0:30 where John, in the person of a giant robomechanical avatar, kicks a pile of virtual bodies across the screen.

More details and links to source code at Yelp Engineering. [Thanks, John!]

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.

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