Archives for category: Methodology

fig 1. This is the image that Synapse captures from the Kinect (Model1414). Notice how it has automatically captured the wire frame skeleton.

The next phase of my work is creating a “wireless” tug o’ war. My theoretical basis for this is the “Alien hand” experiment(see SØrensen 2005). I want to see if the impression of tugging creates the sense that another person is there. I will test this via a digitally mediated interface, rather than a length of rope.

In this case,  I will use a Kinect to simulate a physical connection between to players. At least, that is my goal. this post will focus on the process of physically connecting the Kinect device, made by Microsoft, to my Apple laptop, running OSX Mavericks. By no means am I a computer engineer, so I am synthesizing advice from friends and referencing various web sources.

After doing a little research, I realised I would need an adapter that both provides power to it the Kinect as well as plugging it into my computer. That was purchase for about CAN$15 and delivered in 3 days. To get the Kinect to talk to my computer, I downloaded Synapse and it was easy to install, and free.

The next stage was to find a means to processing the data from the Kinect. I found this tutorial( ). I just followed it and it worked quite well. What did I learn? How to get movement data transferred into my computer. How to start visually presenting that data.

There are still many hurdles: How to get data streams from two people to interact, how to represent that interaction, and how to provide appropriate feedback to the actors involved. But those a closer to n]being soluble problem than they were this morning.


SØrensen, J. B. (2005). The alien-hand experiment. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 4(1), 73-90.

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-005-5854-4


fig 2. This Quartz composer sketch links the various “objects” that allow the data from the Kinect to be processed. Quartz Composer is free for people with Mac OSX and an apple account, and is part of the XCode development kit, for making apps for OSX.


fig 3. The viewer in Quartz Composer: It shows my image, and a spray of particles that follow my left hand. Not bad for an afternoon’s work, and never having used Xcode or any modern programming languages.

Research/Creation attempts to use aesthetic means to uncover patterns and information. Perhaps our earliest examples are the dialogues that Plato wrote, over 2ooo years ago. To explain his philosophical ideas, he wrote what amount to plays, where characters would debate ideas together. The Symposium is an example, where Plato has his characters discuss the nature of love durng a drinking party. We can contrast this with attempt by modern sciences to remove such subjective elements from research and analysis. Indeed how to embrace the subjective without devolving into a solipsistic tautology constitutes a major methodological problem for research/creation.

This use of metaphor as lens sets apart research/creation from the sciences. In a sense, physical science attempts to escape metaphor, or the limitations of human expression to create a literal account of some phenomena.

Googling research/creation gets relatively few hits that are on topic. Instead, many make reference to “creationist research”, or the attempt to create a scientific rationale for religious belief in the origins of life. These attempts usually fail to address a basic characteristic of science, that of falsifiability. What this means is that a scientific theory, an explanation must have a possible condition or conditions where it would fail. So for example, if a fossil rabbit were dated as having lived during the age of the dinosaurs, over 65 million years ago, this would call into question our theories of evolution. Creationist theories fail because they can never imagine a piece of evidence that denies the existence of a creator(God, Allah, Yaweh and so on).