Intel Galileo presents “Pigeon Sim” at Maker Faire Paris

In a short interview, Greg Jackson from the ICRI (Intel Collaborative Research Institute) introduced us to “Pigeon sim”, an open-source software that is using the motion sensing technology of Kinect®. The software also works with the Leap Motion device (smaller Kinect) and Google earth enhanced with real-time data.

This picture shows the kinect recognition pattern and how Pigeon Sim focuses on the upper body of the subject.

Pigeon Sim is a project developed by the ICRI. Initially the project was led by the UCL (University College of London) and CASA (Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis) as part of the DISTANCE educational project. The goal was to use gamification as a padagogical process. As the data lay-out of geography classes was quite abstract (graph,charts).

Another aim of this educational project was to catch the children’s attention about environmental issues such as pollution, or more simply, the weather. The drafted schools were linked to a weather station which collects the data. The children can then explore the country to grasp weather fluctuations.


However the project is unfolding towards new horizons. It is also now used in a more urbanistic field of study. It is one of the keys to a harmonize the ever-growing population in cities to their ever-changing setting.

But Pigeon Sim isn’t the only ongoing project, ICRI is also working on a gamification based award systems. In the boxes are also opportunistic sensor based projects.The user is collecting data in a certain location. Then the user is offered a reward if he goes to the data collecting location. The rewards are ideally very material and linked to local businesses. A partnership is pending with walking tour operators in Hyde Park, London.

There is also social-oriented research. One of them is JokeBox©. Set in places where people gather but have poor social interactions (bus stops for instance) two totems are set at distance that one single person can’t reach at the same time. Each Totem has a buzzer and is asking users to press them simultaneously. This pushes people toward a collaborative pressing of the switch. As a result of their collective action, a joke is being told to the users by a professional brittish comedian. This comedian is also undergoing studies about the regional specifics of humor types. Data for these projects is collected through blue-tooth. Of course a strict respect of privacy is a priority during these data exchanges.

Text by Adrien BESNIER picture by Tim CORBEAU– Common Wave


Bertier is a self-educated entrepreneur. Invited to Maker Faire New York in 2011, he launched le FabShop in 2012, a digital workshop. He is the co-author of the first book in French about 3D printing.

View more articles by Bertier Luyt