Kinect home automation - Questions and Answers

This is a followup post to my previous post and video demonstrating how I used a Kinect sensor in my home automation system.  That video has generated a pleasantly surprising amount of interest and a lot of questions.  I invited a friend over to help demonstrate some of the answers.  Though this isn't the big revelation people may be hoping for, I hope this new post and video answer many of the questions that have been asked.

Topics addressed in the video (including brief summaries):

  1. How well does the system handle multiple people?
    Short answer: the Kinect and my image processing software can; it's up to the rules of the automation logic.
  2. Why use a Kinect instead of an occupation or motion sensor?
    Short answer: The Kinect detects presence, not motion, so the lights don't turn off when you hold still.  It generates a 3D picture of the room, so it can replace multiple motion or IR trip sensors.  Finally, though my automation software does not yet support gestures, a single Kinect could be used for both gesture and zone-based occupancy control.
  3. Why not pause the movie when you stand up?
    Short answer: I wanted the movie to keep playing.
  4. How does the Kinect work?
    Note that there are better sources of information about this than my video; a brief demonstration is included to help tie other concepts together.
  5. What the image processing software on the automation controller sees
  6. Power consumption of system components
    The Kinect uses less than 5W, the controller and other peripherals (including USB hubs, USB-to-serial adapters, input devices, lighting system interface, etc.) use about 14W, and the lights save nearly 300W in my simple system. Wattage meter readings are included in the video for verification.

Please leave your questions and comments here.  One thing I'm particularly interested in knowing is what you believe defines a futuristic lifestyle, and what you wish you could do with your own automation systems.

    Credit where credit is due: the glview software (used to show the infrared and depth images received from the camera) is part of the libfreenect distribution.