OpenPTrack: Body-Based Group Tracking for Informal Learning Spaces

Lightning Talk
Randy Illum, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

This lightning talk introduces OpenPTrack, an open-source technology platform that enables real-time position tracking of many visitors over large areas. It is specifically targeted to education, arts, and culture applications including museums to meet an existing need for sensing that is reliably scalable over large areas, realistically deployable, and low cost. More fundamentally, systems like OpenPTrack enable body-based interactive experiences that engage multiple visitors in informal learning an increasingly viable next step in the development of engaging, interactive exhibits. This talk aims to generate conversation on the future of body-based interaction as a powerful tool for visitor engagement.

To support the exploration of group-focused body-based interactive content, the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance (REMAP) led the development of an open-source person tracking system to enable group tracking, called OpenPTrack. It uses state of the art computer vision techniques to sense people in a space using a network of low-cost consumer imagers such as the Microsoft Kinect, and provide the resulting data in a way that is usable in a variety of creative coding environments for exhibit designers.

Through examples drawn from our own projects, this lightning talk will introduce OpenPTrack and discuss how it can enable interactive experiences for large audiences, as well as plans for future features inspired by these uses. The broader opportunity for enabling group interaction in future informal learning spaces will be discussed. The talk aims to generate new uses of this open source system by others and provoke dialogue on the role of body-based interactive content in the future of informal learning spaces within museums and other cultural institutions.

Munaro, Matteo, Horn, Alex, Illum, Randy, Burke, Jeff, and Rusu, Radu OpenPTrack: People Tracking for Heterogeneous Networks of Color-Depth Cameras. In IAS-13 Workshop Proceedings: 1st Intl. Workshop on 3D Robot Perception with Point Cloud Library, pp. 235-247, Padova, Italy, 2014