A Very Vigo Halloween


For yesterday’s Labs Open House, we had Vigo the Carpathian greet our guests the only way he knows how — by following them intensely with his iron gaze.

People seemed to love it, and to be extremely creeped out. Making this happen was surprisingly simple, and only took a single work day for us to create from scratch. Vigo’s eyes are controlled by Processing, which is getting data fed to it by the Kinect perched atop the TV. With a bit of Photoshop help from my fellow Sunlighters, it wasn’t hard at all for me to take Vigo’s possession methodology into the 21st century.

I’ve released the code on Github, and added extra documentation and commenting to make it easy for anyone to adapt to their own creepy circumstances.

To set it up, you’ll need a Kinect, a USB/power adapter for the Kinect, and a computer with Processing and SimpleOpenNI installed. In theory, that can be any computer, but in practice I found the Ubuntu installation path broken, and we ran this off of a laptop running Windows 7. Once you’ve installed everything, just open up the sketch in Processing, plug the Kinect in to your laptop via USB, and hit Play in Processing.

If you want to use a different picture, you’ll need to cut up the picture, make some convincing eyes, replace the files, and adjust some of the numbers at the top of the sketch.

If you decide to set it up for this Halloween and you need help with anything, feel free to email me and I’ll be happy to help out how I can.

This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t attended Art && Code 3D in Pittsburgh this past weekend. It was a tremendous conference filled with people doing work that is wildly more complicated and wonderful than a haunted painting. Special thanks to Greg Borenstein, whose seminar on using the Kinect with Processing got me going.