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Crazy Weekend Project 2: Semi-Crazy

As you may recall, back in September, I spent five solid days building a robot that could play Atari 2600 Pong. It wasn’t perfect, but it did beat the computer player in several matches. However, there was significant room for improvement. The motion was too jerky, the trajectory projection algorithm had problems, and the robot was no match for a human player. Over the next five days, I will not be continuing that project.

You see, a couple of weeks ago, I finally bought an XBox 360, so I just don’t have that kind of time to devote to building robots at the moment.  Instead, I’ll be doing something much more practical and limited in scope, and only spend a few hours a day on it.  The rest of the time I’ll be alone in my apartment, immersed in HD gaming glory, like any other sane person would be this weekend.

Now, by “more practical and limited in scope”, I mean that I intend to attempt to build a facial recognition system and voice activated command processor.  The reason for this is plain:  Everyone needs a facial recognition system and voice activated command processor.  What good is a computer without one?  Additionally, these are two of the three necessary pieces that I need in order to fully exploit an HP TouchSmart PC that I got from Haggle.com a few weeks back, which has an integrated webcam and microphone.  The third piece, exploitation of the multi-touch screen, is left as an exercise to the reader.

As with the previous Crazy Project Weekend, I have not done any work in these areas or used any of these technologies prior to the commencement of the Crazy Project Weekend, other than a cursory glance to make sure that I’d have a chance of doing something useful in the timeframe alloted.  Additionally, I will be sharing successes, failures, thoughts, and above all, source code, which, in this case, might actually be useful to other people.


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