Creating an iHart Application (Python)

Generated Python documentation (for the client library) is available here.

For more on how iHart works, see this page.



The recommended library for making client applications is kivy, which can be used to easily create graphical python applications. The sample python application uses kivy. Kivy must be installed separately.

Another option is Tkinter, which comes with most versions of python.

Importing the ihart module

First, make sure you have downloaded the latest version of the iHart project from this website (or cloned the repository from GitHub).

The client library is located in the client/library/python folder in the iHart project. Python needs to know where this library is located. If you don’t want to modify your python path, you can tell python where this folder is located, relative to where you're working on your application.

To do so, copy these lines into your main application file, underneath your other import statements:

# Regular python imports
import sys, os

# Import the iHart client library. This path should be the path to the
# client/library/python folder in the ihart project.
IHART_PATH = "../../library/python/"

# We normalize the string for this operating system, make it absolute, and append
# it to the python path. DON'T TOUCH THIS. Edit IHART_PATH above.
sys.path.append(os.path.abspath(os.path.normpath(IHART_PATH)) + os.sep)
import ihart

This code does the following things:

  1. Imports the sys and os modules.
  2. Defines an IHART_PATH variable. This should be the path to the ihart/client/library/python folder. It can be an absolute or relative path.

    You must change IHART_PATH to reflect the path to this folder in your setup!

  3. Adds the IHART_PATH to the list of places that python will look for the iHart client library.
  4. Imports the ihart module, which is the iHart client library.

If you have specified the path correctly, you should be able to run your application without any import errors.

Development Using the iHart Python Client Library

Connecting to the server

There are two main steps to using the iHart client library in your application. Once you have completed the setup above and can import the library, the first step is to create a CVManager object:

cvManager = ihart.CVManager()

Upon creation, the CVManager will attempt to connect to the iHart server. If the connection fails, an error will be reported.

Note: If you are not running the server on the same computer, you can optionally pass in host and port options to specify where the server is.

Retrieving events

You can retrieve events from the CVManager via its getNewEvents() method. When called, the CVManager will check for messages from the server, and return a list of event data objects. If multiple events were received from the server, the objects will be in ordered by arrival, with the events that arrived earliest coming first in the list. If there aren't any new events, the method will return an empty list, or None if the server didn't send anything.

# Get any new events from the server since the last time this method was called.
events = cvManager.getNewEvents()

# events is a list of event data objects, or None
for eventData in events:
	# parse each event data object

Since most GUI libraries in python have their own main loops, it can be difficult to know where to call this method, and implementations may vary by library:

In all cases, you should make the interval between calls as short as possible, so that events don't pile up. Both kivy and Tkinter allow setting the interval between calls to your scheduled method to 0.

Parsing events

getNewEvents() returns a list of CVEventData objects. Events have Blobs associated with them; each one will either be a motion (aka "shell") or face type. Blobs can be retrieved from each CVEventData object via the following methods:

CVEventData also refers to "regions of interest" or "areas of interest," which you can read more about here. All blobs occur within the bounds of a single region of interest. If you're only interested in blobs that occurred within a specific region of interest, you can choose to get only those blobs from the CVEventData object by passing in the index of the region:

All of these methods return lists of Blobs. The documentation for the Blob class is available here.