3D Mapping Camera, XBox Kinect

You may recognize this piece of equipment from Ghost Adventures, but you’re probably wondering; does it actually work? Television shows are built to condense everything into smaller segments, so you may not be getting the full story of the 3D Mapping Camera. This past June, we had the opportunity to learn more about 3D Mapping from Elizabeth Saint during a Nick Groff Tour stop at the Philander Washburn House in Middleborough, MA. Below is some footage of a tour goer communicating with what we believe was a spirit:

With that and a little research, we are here to tell you the legitimacy of a 3D Mapping Camera and if it’s right for you!

According to Paranormal Warehouse, “the Kinect is a motion sensing input device used for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. This device was developed to enable people to control and interact with their console/computer without the need for a game controller, through a natural interface using gestures and spoken commands.” This new technology was released in 2010. The League of Occult Research mentions, “ever since the release of the Kinect motion sensor controllers… gamers have been posting videos of ‘Kinect Ghosts’ detected by their Xbox 360… the Kinect prompts you when a new person is in the room, a phenomena dismissed as a glitch by most users if they’re alone.” However, we’re Ghost Hunters, and this new technology is bound to be showing much more to the unknown than a glitch.

So, how does this technology work, and how could it pick up a human figure if it’s not there? CSI Cop has a different message with the use of a 3D Mapping Camera in a means to debunk that a spirit is not actually there; however, they give a great explanation as to how the technology works. “The Kinect has an infrared (IR) emitter that projects a speckle (as in dots) pattern of IR light into the playing area (room).” The speckle pattern is intelligent, meaning “the software knows where each dot is within the pattern.” The science behind this technology shows that the “infrared depth sensor containing a CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensor takes a look at the speckles reflected off of the various objects in the room and measures something called ‘time of flight’ – the time it takes for the IR light to travel from the emitter, reflect off an object, and return to the depth sensor.” All of this is done 30 times a second while tracking forty-eight different points of the human body.

Image: https://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/the_xbox_kinect_and_paranormal_investigation

All of this seems pretty legit. But there are other things to consider. According to CSI Cop, “as you, the player, stand in front of the Kinect, the speckle pattern reflecting off of you allows the Kinect to calculate the distances to different parts of your body. This creates what is called a ‘point cloud’… Based on the millions of reference images and video, the software guesses which parts of your body are the arms, legs, head, etc.” The key word used here is “guess.” This is why, while using new technology, it is incredibly important to test how or why a second figure could be appearing in the camera. With that being said, this technology is still incredibly innovative and there are some more ways to use it while getting more solid evidence. Here are some examples:

  • Combine Old Technology with New: Sometimes old technology can be more reliable than new technology. There are some Ghost Hunters who still use analog tape recorders. The reason being is because they are not easily altered or faked. When using new technology, it may be smart to pair with some old technology. For example, while using the 3D Mapping Camera, try to also use a polaroid camera when another figure pops up on the screen to attempt to take a picture of the anomaly. Or, set up your tape recorder to start asking questions.

  • Use the Kinect to Give Stronger Merit to Other Evidence on Other Devices: By this, we mean that you could also be using an infrared camera to pick up whatever is in front of you so you can see the correlation of something showing up on both forms of technology to give stronger merit to each other.

  • Always Debunk!: As exciting as it is to get some evidence, it is always important to debunk, especially with new technology. Test out why a figure may be popping up. Move the camera to see if a figure still pops off. Bring other people into view of the camera. Move around. Take pictures. There are so many tests one can go through to ensure the evidence their getting is solid.

If you would like to read more about paranormal technology, leave us suggestions in the comments below or leave us a post on our Facebook page! We love hearing from our followers. Happy Hunting!

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