Aftermarket applications for the Xbox Kinect keep droppping into the open-source space, obviously outpacing the amount of actual games for Kinect in a way that puts Microsoft's schedule to shame. Heck, even just offering a reduced-license marketplace for getting some of these musical toys at home would offer plenty of attention for Kinect as a tool for interactive art.
Today's video definitely couldn't make it into a home demo, however. With 'Material Animation', students at ETH Zürich co-opted an unused bunker and filled it with structures based on electroluminscent foil--a flexible substance which emits light when activated. In addition to looking pretty, these structures warp and change in reaction to the proximity, speed, and amount of people in the room - which is where the Kinect comes in.
A breakdown of the technology appears in the video, but the practical upshot is realized in rooms with three different themes: 'Open Wires' focuses on unpredictable shapes via high-speed revolving foil lights; 'Insomnia' shows optical animations using two sets of moiré strips; and 'Vapor' is eight beautiful spiral-cut shapes, which expand and warp based on the viewer's movements.
The project took the MAS class three-and-a-half weeks, and was tutored by two professors. The relative speed with which it was realized is particularly inspiring for the future of Kinect and it uses in interactive art. With luck, it won't be long before exhibits like this start showing up in modern museums worldwide!