Greg Borenstein is an artist, technologist, and teacher. His work explores computer vision, machine learning, game design, visual effects, and drawing as media for storytelling and design.

Greg is a graduate of the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program and has worked for firms such as Makerbot and Berg London. He is the author of a book for O'Reilly about the Microsoft Kinect, titled: Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot.

He's currently a researcher in the Playful Systems Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Work

Generated Detective is an algorithmic detective comic generated from public domain novels and Creative Commons-licensed images. It was created as part of NaNoGenMo 2014.

@fanstasticvocab is a Twitter bot that invents new words with new meanings out of the atoms of English.

Computational Tools for Chess Spectatorship is a collaboration with Grandmaster Maurice Ashley to use computation to make the drama of a high-level chess match comprehensible for novice viewers. It is in-progress research as part of my work in the Playful Systems group at the MIT Media Lab. The work will premiere at the Millionaire Chess Open, the largest prize chess tournament in history.

@literaldevices is a Twitter bot that generates novel literary and rhetorical devices and their definitions.

Case and Molly is a location-specific game inspired by William Gibson's Neuromancer. It's about the coordination between the virtual and the physical, between "cyberspace" and "meat". It's played with the Oculus Rift and a smart phone with a mount that turns it into a 3D camera. It premiered at SXSW 2014 (Press: The Verge, Mashable, BoingBoing, Polygon) Read more.

OpenCV for Processing is computer vision library for the Processing creative coding environment. It makes it easy for artists, designers, and experimenters to work with OpenCV. It was developed with support from O'Reilly Media and the Processing Foundation. Read more.

@rulesofcards is a Twitter bot that generates rules for impossible card games.

@uncannyxbot is a Twitter bot that produces plot summaries for X-Men comics than don't exist. At least not on Earth 616.

We Make the Weather is an interactive installaton created for New Cinema program hosted by Eyebeam and The Creator's Project. Inspired by Hurricane Sandy, it uses seam carving, breath detection, motion capture, and the Unity game engine to poetically explore the human impact on the environment. Read more.

ofxaddons.com aggregates more than 700 community-created extensions to the OpenFrameworks creative coding toolkit. Created in collaboration with James George.

Machine Pareidolia is an experiment in the differences between human and machine vision. It applies a face tracking algorithm to images of inanimate objects that trigger human pareidolia. Read more. (Press: NBC, The Verge, The Atlantic, interview on Big Picture Science)

Monolith is a stop-motion music video for the band Soars made with Calli Higgins. This video was selected for the Southside and New Media film festivals.

The Valley of Heart's Delight: Tinkle Toy is a multimedia installation that uses special effects as an artistic medium to construct an absurd and eccentric monument to the origins of the personal computer. Read more.

'LO': October 29, 1969 is a multimedia monument to the birth of the internet. See more images.

Running of the Bulls is an electromechanical game built with Scott Wayne Indiana that lets you participate in a tiny version of the Festival of Sanfermines.

Homunculus is a video self-portrait that explores facial expressions and physical performance. In it, I use the position of my body to puppet a 3D model of my own head.

Face Fight is a collaborative drawing machine that allows two players to physically wrestle over control of a line in order to create a single drawing of both of their faces. More about Face Fight.

Physical GIF is a collaborative design project with Scott Wayne Indiana. It turns animated GIFs into magical tabletop toys. With a laser cutter and a strobe we give GIFs life off the screen. Follow Physical GIF on Kickstarter.

Open is a 30-second animated short about the adventures of a corkscrew. Hand drawn in Flash.

Tabula Rasa is a video meditation on the quiet of late night New York streets. It uses the music of Arvo Part and a composited miniature to reflect the beauty and calm of the midnight city.

Drift is a simple text editor that stores your documents as GitHub Gists so that they're always backed up and easily shared, built with Devin Chalmers and currently available in the App Store. More about Drift.

KAMAS: the Kinect Abnormal Motion Assessment System. A software system dedicated to automating the detection and tracking of movement disorders using the Microsoft Kinect. Winner of the national Health 2.0 Developer Challenge 2011. More about KAMAS.

Book

Greg is the author of Making Things See: 3D vision with Kinect, Processing, Arduino, and MakerBot, released by O'Reilly Media on January 12, 2012. The book uses the Processing creative coding environment to introduce readers to the basics of working with depth cameras, from basic pixel processing to drawing 3D point clouds and working with user-tracking skeleton data.

The book includes projects and introductory concepts in a wide range of application areas made possible by the Kinect: gestural interfaces, 3D scanning for fabrication, and robotic vision.

Making Things See is available in print and electronic forms in bookstores, from Amazon, and directly from O'Reilly.

Code

Greg is proficient in a number of programming languages including Ruby, JavaScript, Java/Processing, C++ (for graphics with OpenFrameworks and for embedded systems with Arduino), and Objective-C. He has extensive experience in web programming including server- and client-side work for both his own startups and for an extensive list of clients. He also has experience creating and running open source projects including a few with a significant community of contributors. Below are the most prominent examples:

  • A Processing wrapper for the widely-used OpenCV computer vision library. Work on this library has been generously supported by the Processing Foudnation.
  • A Processing library that does real-time finger-tracking from depth images, for example from the Kinect.
  • A Processing library providing access to libsvm for the Support Vector Machine learning. Includes examples for text analysis and color- and shape-based object recognition.
  • A Processing library implementing the Dynamic Programming optimization technique along with a number of applications including, Seam Carving and Sequence Alignment.
  • A Processing library implementing Principal Component Analysis, a technique for finding the major axes of variance in data. Includes applications to statistical data as well as finding the orientation of 2D objects in thresholded images and 3D objects in point clouds.
  • An OpenFrameworks addon implementing the USB Unviersal Video Class spec for camera control.
  • A system for programming the Arduino microcontroller using Ruby. Created in 2008. It has a thriving community and is now maintained by others.
  • An Arduino library for working with OLED screens.
  • A MacRuby app that helps you close your browser tabs and submit them to Instapaper and Pinboard.
  • A user-modifiable network-aware editor in Javascript and REST. Implemented with jQuery and Sinatra.
  • A bridge between the Songbird music player webpage API and the JSON Shareable Playlist Format.

Writing

Exhibits

  • 2014
    MICE: Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA
  • 2014
    SXSW Interactive, Austin, TX
  • 2012
    PULSE: Art and Technology Festival, Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA
  • 2011
    FORMAT, The Luminary Center for the Arts, St. Louis, MO
  • 2011
    New Media Film Festival
  • 2011
    Southside Film Festival
  • 2011
    It Reminds Me, Ventana244
  • 2011
    Spring Show, NYU ITP
  • 2010
    Winter Show, NYU ITP
  • 2010
    Spring Show, NYU ITP
  • 2009
    Winter Show, NYU ITP

Talks

Upcoming

Past

  • More Pixels Law: How The Camera is Becoming the World's Most Important Sensor
    O'Reilly Solid, San Francisco May 21-22, 2014. (video, details, slides)
  • Learning from Science Fiction
    FITC Toronto, April 27-29, 2014. (video, Details, slides)
  • Making Magic Normal and Making Normal Magic (Design Workshop)
    MIT Media Lab, Cambrdige, MA, October, 2013
  • Inaugural Paperless Post Tech Talk
    New York, NY April, 2012
  • PULSE: Art and Technology Festival
    Savannah, GA, 27 February - 4 March, 2012 at Telfair Museum.
  • Art && Code 3D
    Pittsburgh, PA 21-23 October 2011 at CMU
  • Maker Faire NYC
    New York 17-18 September 2011 at New York Hall of Science.
  • Intro to the Kinect: Gestural Interfaces
    Taught at ITP Camp 2011 (notes, code, and slides)
  • Control Emacs with Your Beard: the All-Singing All-Dancing Intro to Hacking the Kinect
    Presented June 21, 2011 at OS Bridge. (notes, code, and slides)
  • Body Tracking with the Kinect
    Presented at Health 2.0 Boston. (slides and notes)
  • Looking Up at the MJT and David Wilson Interview
    Presented at Modern Languages Association Conference, 2011 (slides and notes)
  • Don't Lose Your Shit: On Version Control and Backups
    Presented at NYU ITP, 2010. (notes and slides)
  • Free As In Beer: Cybernetic Science Fictions
    Presented at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association Conference, 2009 with Jeremiah Axelrod. (video)
  • Arduino is Rails for Hardware hacking
    Presented at Golden Gate Ruby Conference, 2009. (video)
  • Giving Rails the Big 'F': Surviving Facebook Integration Unscarred
    Presented at RailsConf, 2009. (talk description)
  • Ruby Arduino Development
    Presented at RubyConf, 2008. (video)

Comics

Godzilla: Awakening

Greg is the co-author of Godzilla: Awakening with Max Borenstein. Released by Legendary Comics on May 7, 2014. Featuring art by Eric Battel, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah, and Lee Loughridge and cover art by Arthur Adams, Godzilla: Awakening is the official graphic novel prequel to the 2014 Godzilla feature film.

Delve into an incredible mystery, generations in the making. At the dawn of the atomic age, humanity awakens life forms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces of nature. This explosive, larger-than-life adventure is the perfect way for fans to glimpse the new Godzilla before seeing the film in theaters.

Available on Amazon

Other comics

  • November, 2014. A multi-part algorithmic detective comic generated from public domain novels for NaNoGenMo. Read more about the process behind it here.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about fighting and dancing.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about hand gestures.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about fighting.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about a camera and a robot.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about surgery and food.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about guilt.
  • September, 2014. A two-panel sketchbook comic about work.
  • April, 2013. A one-page comic based on a tweet from a William Gibson satire account.
  • March, 2013. A one-page word-ladder comic imagining the end of Pope Benedict's papacy.
  • December, 2012. Published on Warren Ellis's blog.