Home automation and lighting control with Kinect

Update: be sure to read my followup blog post where I answer common questions about this hack.
Update 2: I've written a web interface to make it easy to set up a Kinect in a home automation system.
Update 3: The Kinect automation system is available for purchase by tech-savvy early adopters on the Nitrogen Logic web site.

As I mentioned in my original ASCII art Kinect hacks post, I have been integrating the Xbox Kinect camera into my home automation system.  That integration has finally reached the point where it's ready to demonstrate.

how it works

The Kinect sensor is placed in the corner to have as wide a view as possible.  A libfreenect-based application on the automation system monitors my location in the room, using a set of simple rules to determine what action to take based on where I am.  For example, the system can turn the lights on and off as I move around my apartment, impressing friends and saving electricity.

When I'm sitting at my desk, only the lights by my desk remain lit.  When I move around the room, all the lights are lit so I can easily see where I am going.  The lights automatically dim if I sit down for a movie and turn back on if I stand up to grab a snack.  Finally, the lights automatically turn on when I enter my apartment and turn off when I leave.

Watch this video to get a better overview of the system's capabilities and see the software and hardware in action: