Control Emacs with Your Beard: the All-Singing All-Dancing Intro to Hacking the Kinect

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 from 10:00 – 10:45am in B302/03


See! The Amazing Future of Human-Computer Interaction! Behold! The Awesome Power of Open-Source Libraries and Cheap Video-Game Accessories! Fake Beards!


Thanks to mad consumer science like the Microsoft Kinect, the future of human-computer interfaces is approaching faster than a jetpack-powered high-speed rail line filled with Phil Dick novels.

Watch, dumbfounded and thunderstruck, as award-winning Kinect hacker Greg Borenstein (and his grotesquely deformed, half-literate assistant Devin) use open source libraries like libfreenect, Cinder, and OpenFrameworks to build gestural interfaces that let them:

  • Play web browsers like violins!
  • Manage windows like so many marionettes!
  • And, of course, hack on Emacs hands-free with the assistance of nothing but a beard.

Working without a net and at great personal and professional peril, they will show why even the crustiest open-source geeks will be excited to play with this new toy.

Speaking experience