Where next for Microsoft Kinect?

Last week’s Fantastic Tavern gamification event included the opportunity to win an Xbox 360 and Kinect and Microsoft’s Andrew Spooner (@andspo), a Creative Evangelist working with Xbox, gave an update on the latest Kinect developments.

Dancing with Invisible LightKinect is now (officially) the World’s fastest-selling consumer electronics device. That’s quite some achievement. I described how Kinect works in an earlier post (3 cameras including one RGB and two 3D motion depth sensors, 4 microphones for directional audio) but Andrew highlighted Audrey Penven’s photographs demonstrating the infra-red light patterns that Kinect uses (Audrey’s image is shown here under a creative commons licence).

After some initial unauthorised hacking, Microsoft has now released an official software development kit for Kinect, allowing Windows developers to develop new uses for the sensor [although there isn’t yet a commercial model for it’s use as a PC peripheral]. Andrew demonstrated some simple skeletal tracking but some of the examples of Kinect hacks (pre-SDK) include:

There are some pretty cool projects there – some are just geeky, but others have real, practical uses. Now that there is an official SDK, Microsoft is suggesting that we’re only limited by our imagination… and that’s probably not to far from the truth!

“All you need is life experience”

[Alex Kipman, “Kinect brainchild”]

Andrew finished off his presentation with a video where Kinect becomes self-aware. Of course, it’s not real… but it is amusing… and it does make you think…

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