Creating Sweet Visuals From Skateboard Movements Using An iPod Touch

<p>Design I/O&#8217;s <i>Skataviz</i> attaches an iPod Touch to a skateboard to record its motion and create 3D data visuals.</p>

Kevin Holmes

Skataviz - Prototype from Design I/O on Vimeo.

Skateboarding is a great spectator sport. It’s a thrill watching pros flip about and ollie a half pipe or whatever it is they do. They make it look so easy—but behind all those totally rad moves lies a ton of motion data that’s just itching to be turned into sweet, sweet visuals.

Design I/OTheo Watson and Emily Gobeille—have set about doing just that by with their R&D Skataviz project. It uses the low-tech method of strapping an iPod Touch to the bottom of a skateboard, using the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer to monitor and record the board’s movements.

Recruiting the services of some pros, Frankie Nash and Thomas Kramer, they set about putting this concoction to the test. It turns out it works pretty well, allowing them to gather motion data from the tricks and turn this into a 3D augmented overlay on a live video. The software is just a prototype at the moment, but you can see its potential, like creating interactive visuals or projection mapping the dataviz onto a half pipe.