After I started looking for a new job, I had two intense months full of interviews and travelling (I traveled to different countries, including the US for the first time) where I met great people and learned a lot.
It was all very new to me because it had been a while since I had looked for a job and I had never had so many interviews.
After deciding to join Red Hat, Helena and I also started the process of moving from A Coruña to Berlin which involved packing a lot of boxes and storing them in my parents’ attic in Brotas, Portugal where they will remain for a little while. This required a few car trips (13 hours driving, each return trip) but my parents are very kind people and they love me so they helped us with all the logistics.
Leaving Coruña was something we wanted but it was still very sad. We made many good friends during these 4 years in there and saying good-bye was hard, even if in this modern world good-bye actually means “see you later”. They are very good and fantastic people and we miss them already.
It actually felt like leaving my country again because as of now, I know more of the reality (political situation, finances, etc.) in Galicia/Spain then I know of my own country.
We’re still sorting out some of the last details of setting up in Germany. Berlin is very multicultural and it’s fairly easy to get around using English but we are lucky and thankful to have our friend Chris here who is helping us a lot.
Helena is already taking German classes and I will start soon so I hope I will be able to shout “Ich bin ein Berliner” as funnily as this guy did.
Regarding Red Hat, I am part of the desktop team, composed by well known names in the community, where I will keep hacking on GNOME related stuff. It is great to be able to continue working on Free Software and for such a nice company full of great developers. Working remotely will be a new challenge but Berlin is full of lovely places like St. Gaudy Café where I can get inspiration and work quietly.
As for my other FOSS projects, I hope I can dedicate a bit of my free time to them — between German classes and my personal life affairs.
I would like to thank all the people who contacted me during these months with great projects. I wish you the best of luck.
Last but not least, I would also like to thank Mike Fabian for having recommended me inside Red Hat.
The video shows the an early test application that was created from the one shipped with Skeltrack, then some testing with colleagues at Igalia’s office and finally the installation in Berlin and the final result:
The museum commissioned the Berlin’s interaction/design Studio Kaiser Matthies to create an installation so the studio created the concept and teamed up with us to develop the technical part.
The installation’s purpose is to show different forms of communication and the concept is very simple: When a user is detected in the “action zone”, an actor shows up in a screen and performs a salutation; the user is supposed to do the same salutation and receives a positive feedback if it was performed well or a negative feedback otherwise.
Examples of gestures are the Japanese bow or waving a kiss.
Salutations installation in the Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin
The screen in the right side shows a live video of users so they can compare their gestures with the ones expected from another person’s perspective.
For user detection and to know where their skeleton’s joints are, we used Skeltrack. We also used OpenCV on top of it in order to track more complex salutations, such as the US East Coast hand’s sign.
As for the rest of the stack, we used a minimal Debian, Clutter and GStreamer with many mechanisms to make it robust in case of failure and all this running from a USB stick.
This means that the software used in this installation is completely Open Source and more importantly, it is the world’s first interactive installation that uses Open Source skeleton tracking. We are also going to release the very application’s source code once we have time to release it.
We would like to thank Studio Kaiser Matthies for the opportunity of having such an important project in one of the world’s art capitals. Be sure to visit the museum the next time you’re in Berlin and, if you want us to help you do awesome interactive installations using Open Source software, let me know.