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Kinect and SEN – Visikord – Turning Music into Visuals

This post leads on from a previous one which looked into using some software called Po-motion to create an interactive wall display. Since installing this system, I have been in contact with a fantastic teacher, Anthony Rhys (@trinityfieldsit) who has been doing some fantastic work with his students using the Kinect system and Ipads. He has also set up a great wiki at on apps to use with SEN http://ipad-sen-plcsouthwales.wikispaces.com/ He was the one who originally pointed me in the direction of the Visikord software and as soon as I got our hands on a Kinect I knew I had to try it out.

Visikord is a piece of software originally designed for nightclubs and parties. It turns your TV, smartboard, projection etc. into a mirror-like ‘smart screen’ which gives off stunning visual effects as someone moves to music. It allows the user to interact with the music both through sound but more importantly vision. The software works on a PC (Windows XP or higher) and you need a Microsoft Kinect or Asus Xtion.  The software is free to download as a demo version and this is the version I have been using in class.

Here is a video example of Visikord in action:

The link to download the software is http://visikord.com/introduction/visikord-for-home

The setup I  used is an XP laptop with an Xbox Kinect connected. Installed on this are the Primesense and OpenNi drivers which come with the download of Visikord.  I trialled this with some of my sixth form students and they instantly liked trying to produce different effects in time with the music.  Also those students who tend to shy away from physical exercise, wanted to have a go and were very active and wanting to interact with the music.

Later on, one of our PMLD students had a go with the software. What was great to see was the instant reaction to the sound and the visuals coming from the screen.  Though the student only had limited movement the Visikord software still pick this up and produce visuals to match the music. They were attracted to the bright visuals and in turn were responding to these and the music. I really like the potential for using Visikord and the Kinect especially in relation to our sensory room at school.

Over the next few weeks I will add a Kinect in the Classroom section to the blog which will look into the different options for setting up the Kinect (windows or xbox version) and recommend some of the open source software that is being developed that would be useful for SEN students.

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