Posts Tagged ‘Kinect’

Some things I want to see in the WebGL world

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 by Phillip Napieralski

I’ve been working quite a bit with WebGL for one of my research projects, so here goes:

Skeletal Animation

I want to see a graphics library built on top of WebGL that supports rigged meshes. For instance, there was a blog post recently about combining the Kinect with WebGL, but there is currently no easy way to connect that skeletal information to a model for interactivity. In order to see Kinect games, training environments, etc… a skeletal library would be very useful.

Imagine if you will, logging on to a website called On this site you can select any one of many workout routines, in which a simple WebGL app loads and asks you to perform certain exercises. The kinect can then do some detection to see if you are working out correctly/make it fun. Further, it could be expanded so that other people can see how effectively/how long you worked out.

The target demographic for a site like that would be someone looking to get fit, but needs a little social nudge which you can’t necessarily get from a regular Kinect workout game (yet). Research is starting to show that society has a big impact on how much we choose to workout.

EDIT: Turns out glge has had support for skeletal animations for a year!

Virtual Human Library

Now, turn this skeletal support into a full blown virtual human (VH) library. Make it simple enough to use (like haptek was back when it was new). Allow the VH to smile, frown, wink, etc on command and even perform some simple gestures.

Allow this to be displayed on a transparent canvas and give it text-to-speech capabilities and you can have a VH that can give a tour of a website, or a web application easily and effectively (and for blind/sight-challenged people too).

One of the best displays of a virtual human I had when I was little was in the cut scenes from Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Striving for something like that to begin with would be very cool.


Now we have a VH library, what else can we do with it? The possibilities grow exponentially. I would start with simple things like a VH webpage tour guide. As a graduate student, I could see a user study being done on that and (probably) getting published.

From a non-researcher standpoint, you could incorporate this library into an online video game (why not recreate Return to Castle Wolfenstein?).


I’m certainly not an expert at WebGL. But, I’m going to make a valiant effort to start adding VH support to three.js (Maybe I can build off some code that was already started for it?).

I will stop there. If you have some other ideas on how a VH library addition could benefit WebGL, feel free to comment!