Making Things See
by Greg Borenstein
2012 O’Reilly Publishing
“Making Things See” by Greg Borenstein is a great introduction into the world of 3D vision. Through the use of the Kinect, Arduino and the Processing language he shows not only the theory behind 3D vision but also practical examples of how to interface with the Kinect to “see” and interact with 3D objects.
For many years, interacting with computers has been in a 2D space, either through a keyboard/mouse or more recently with touch screens. However, science fiction has continuously showed computers being interacted with at from a 3D space, where the user interaction is dependent not only with the position within a 2D space, but also their position in a 3D space with reference to the environment around them.
Mr. Borenstein makes not assumptions within his book about the knowledge that the user will have with interfacing with 3D objects. He starts the book off with an explanation of how the Kinect, which is the technology used throughout the book for examples, works from a technical level. Once the user is familiar with the hardware being used, he goes into detail in the next few chapters talking about the math behind analyzing the input from the Kinect.
The Processing language is the basis for the programs within the book. Mr. Borenstein, makes an assumption that the user is familiar with the Processing language, but even if you only have a rudimentary knowledge, you should still be able to proceed with the example programs, as they are all well documented and explained throughout the book. The library used to interact with the Kinect is OpenNI and Mr. Borenstein spends time explaining how the library works and what functions/capabilities it provides to the user within the 3D space.
Overall, the book is a good read and the examples are well thought out. Unlike other books that explain a concept with one way of performing the analysis, this book provides explanations of multiple ways to perform 3D object analysis with the pros and cons of each explained.
I found the book very well thought out. If you are looking for a good introduction into 3D image processing and have interest in interfacing with the Kinect hardware, this book is a definite must have for your collection.