We got a tip this week and the tipster’s comments were along the lines of “this doesn’t look like it’s finished yet, but at least I think it’s pretty cool”. And that was exactly right. The work in question is basically attaching a simple webcam to a CNC router and then running it with OpenCV, and [vector76]’s application was the cutting of hand-drawn curves in free form from wood. To amuse his daughter.
But no apology is needed for presenting a work in progress. Unfinished hacks are great! They leave room for further improvement and interpretation. They are like an unfinished story and invite the hacker to come up with his own ending. At least that’s how it worked for me.
My mind went racing – adding smart and extensible computer vision to a CNC router enables not only line tracing, but perhaps smarter edge tracing, broken tool detection and who knows what else. With the software being so flexible these days and the extra hardware so minimal, it’s an invitation. It’s like Pavlov is ringing that bell, and I’m the dog hacker. Or something.
So remember this if you’re half done with a project, get a workable first-stage demo, but you haven’t pursued every opportunity. Leaving something to the imagination of other hackers can be just as powerful. Your proof of concept doesn’t have to be the mother of all demos – sometimes just a working mouse is enough.