At the MVP summit this month one of the crew mentioned an idea which really resounded with me. In our client sites, there is often a Network Operations Center (NOC) which has a view of the overall health of the environment. I generally use Savision Live Maps to display this health state and it’s on a large monitor in the room. The question was raised – what if we were able to control the NOC screen with a Kinect! When I got home, I did some searching and found out that people have been using the Kinect to drive World of Warcraft (WOW) so I was pretty sure that this was technically possible. My goal on this was not to advocate this as a solution for a NOC but rather to really think outside of the box (or in this case more like kick the box down the hallway) with regards to what Operations Manager can do.

So what does an IT professional of over 20 years do with a situation like this? I did what any savvy IT person would do. I asked my 12 year old son (homeschooled in-process of becoming an alpha-geek who programs in LUA) if he would put this together for me and offered him the equivalent price of a videogame of his choice to compensate him for his efforts. And I must say – in my opinion this was well worth the cost. We premiered this tonight at MMS in my Operations Manager Evolution session (BB37) – thank you to everyone who attended!

The high level steps involved in this include:

1) Purchasing a Kinect

2) Installing the Kinect required software and drivers

3) Configuring the FAAST software

4) Installing Live Maps and configuring for the NOC view

5) Using the Kinect to drive the NOC view

 

Step 1: Purchasing a Kinect

Step 2: Installing the Kinect required software and drivers

To use FAAST, you will need to download and install the following software:

1. OpenNI Unstable Build for Windows v1.0.0.25

2. PrimeSense NITE Unstable Build for Windows v1.3.0.18
During NITE installation, enter the free license key from OpenNI: 0KOIk2JeIBYClPWVnMoRKn5cdY4=

3. Hardware drivers for your sensor (only one of the following)

o Microsoft Kinect: SensorKinect Module – download Win32 installer from Bin folder

o PrimeSensor: PrimeSensor Module – this does NOT work with the Kinect

FAAST should then run out-of-the-box; no additional installation or setup is necessary. If you encounter an error on startup, you may also need to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable Package.

[Subset of information provided at: http://projects.ict.usc.edu/mxr/faast/]

 

Detailed information on what we ran into during the installation:

1. Plug the kinect USB port into the computer.

2. Go to device manager, you should see something like “unknown device”, right click on that.

3. Where ever you downloaded SensorKinect tell the “driver” to update using that file.

4. Once that is done you should see 3 new things pop up (Xbox NUI Audio, Kinect Camera, and Kinect Motor.)

5. Now that that is through let’s get to the using process, run FAAST.

6. Get your kinect setup where you want it to see you (I recommend moving objects and/or pets away from area where you are standing in front of the kinect).

Step 3: Configuring the FAAST software

1. Click on the actions tab in FAAST.

2. Put this in the text field in FAAST

# mappings from input events to output events

# format: event_name threshold output_type event

left_foot_forwards 12 mouse_click left_button

left_foot_forwards 12 mouse_click left_button

left_arm_out 12 mouse_click left_button

right_foot_forwards 12 mouse_click right_button

2. Click the Connect button.

4. Once it successfully connects and you’re ready, click the Start Emulator Button

5. You’re in! Right hand moves the mouse, left foot forwards is left click, right foot forwards is right click.

Step 4: Installing Live Maps and configuring for the NOC view

Step 5: Using the Kinect to drive the NOC view

  • Opened the NOC view via a remote desktop connection running the actual console. This could also be done via a web browser but for the purposes of this demonstration the full Operations Manager console was preferred.
  • Launch the FAAST software on the left side of the screen.
  • FAAST identifies the person and maps them so that it can determine what actions the person is performing.

So where’s the video? See below

 

OpsMgr, Live Maps & Kinect

FAQ:

 

Q: The Kinect can’t see me!

A: Try reinstalling everything then repeating the process.

Q: Will this cause problems for my Xbox 360 or the Kinect?

A: No.

Q: Cannot control the Kinect

A: Hold your hands up and make a football field goal until FAAST finishes calibrating.

Q: How long should this installation take?

A: 1 hour to 3 hours depending on whether you hit issues requiring re-installation.

 

I owe a huge debt of thanks to my son Gavin for all of his hard work on this – WAY TO GO GAVIN!