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Dec3

Written by:SuperUser Account
12/3/2010 10:02 AM RssIcon

Alex Howard
 

How Kinect could apply to art, education, health and other domains.

by Alex Howard @digiphile 

Kinect
Kinect for Xbox 360. Image courtesy Microsoft/Xbox press kit.

I recently had the opportunity to put Microsoft's Kinect to the test. While the device may prove to be a financial success (it seems well on its way), my takeaway was all about sense, not dollars.

For the first time in my adult life, I played a video game with one of my parents and we both enjoyed the experience. The parent in question was able to interact with the set-top box without navigating a dozen different buttons on complicated controllers, and even a broken right arm was no barrier to changing songs, avatars or settings.

Kinect, at this stage, isn't perfect. As the Wall Street Journal and Engadget noted in reviews, a controller is still needed to access certain menus or functions, and accuracy-focused tasks that involve manipulating objects don't work all that well.

Glitches aside, after using Kinect it's clear to me that the device's full potential isn't bound only to games. What caught and held my attention was the device's gestural user interface, or what Microsoft research scientist Craig Mundie more specifically described to Computerworld asKinect's "natural user interface."

Joe Sinicki summarized Kinect's broader influence in his review: "The main draw of Kinect is not what it does now, but what developers may be able to do with it in the future." Given OpenKinect, a set of open source drivers that unlocks the device's potential, the developer opportunities are considerable.

With that as a backdrop, here are a few ways Kinect could leap beyond its gaming applications.

 

1. Health and medicine

 

Chris Niehaus, director of U.S. public sector innovation at Microsoft, blogged at length aboutKinect applications in telemedicine, neurological processes, physical therapy and medical training. While Niehaus has a strong motive to highlight the best of Kinect, his post explores the concept well.

R.O.G.E.R. shows how Kinect can be applied to post-stroke patients. For a sense of how motion gaming has already made an impact in this direction, recall the stories about veterans undergoing "Wii-hab" last year, or the cybertherapy pilots underway at various militaries.

 

2. Special needs children and adults

 

Look no further than the story of Kinect and John Yan's four-year-old autistic son for a real-world example of how a different interface can literally open up new worlds. Research into computerized gaming and autism already reveals the potential for mirroring applications to improve facial recognition. Kinect hacks might take this further.

 

3. Exercise

 

This one has no technical angle at all. It may be a bit too hopeful to think Kinect, Wii, and PlayStation's Move will get overweight children moving. But given the rates of childhood obesity, moving kids from sedentary to active would be a clear win for everything but the living room furniture. That benefit might even extend to parents and seniors.

 

4. Education

 

Educational technology has grown in recent years through electronic publishing, learning management systems, and new models for virtual degrees earned online. Will Kinect's video and interface allow for distributed teaching? That's admittedly speculative, but education is an area to watch.

 

5. Participatory art

 

This interactive, Kinect-based puppet prototype is just the beginning. As the Kinect platform matures, groups of people dancing in public and private spaces could explore new art forms that blend virtual and physical spaces. Flash mobs could get a lot more distributed.

 

6. Advertising and e-commerce

 

The Kinect can already detect multiple people in field. The Xbox 360 already enables users to watch live and recorded sports on ESPN. As more intelligence is built into the platform, combining those two capacities could go far beyond changing channels. It could lead to recognizing different users, profiles and creating a more interactive watching experience. Early integration with Twitter and Facebook are a start, but they don't lend themselves to fully socializing the experience. Neither does Microsoft's Live community, though it's not hard to imagine that feature evolving into a full-fledged social network.

 

7. Navigating the web / exploring digital spaces

 

If you've seen "Minority Report" or watched video of Oblong Industry's spatial operating system, you're already familiar with the concept of gestural interfaces. Kinect could be an initial step toward making that concept a reality. In fact, a team from MIT's Media Lab has already developed a Kinect hack that allows for gesture-driven web surfing:

View Original Article

 

Featured Microsoft Partners

 

Rose Business Solutions 
Office Location:  San Diego, California, United States
Type:  Reseller,Training Firm,VAR
Industry Focus:  ERP, CRM, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Not For Profit, Distribution, Hosting, Retail


Rose Business Solutions is the leading business solutions provider for emerging middle market companies with $1 million to $500 million in annual revenues. Our solutions extend from the back to the front office and include the leading Microsoft-based Enterprise Resource Planning/Accounting (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Professional Services Automation (PSA) applications. During the last 20 years, the company has assisted over 400 companies with over 4000 end users in multiple industries and multiple countries and has grown to be one of the nations largest Microsoft value added reseller for business solutions.

 

 

T3 Information Systems 
Office Location:  Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Type:  ISV,Systems Integrator,Reseller,VAR
Industry Focus:  Not-For-Profit


T3 Information Systems, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics GP, SL and CRM, as well as financial reporting, dashboard and budgeting applications such as FRx\Management Reporter, OnseStop Reporting, NetCharts Performance Dashboards, Forecaster and our own Full Circle Budget. T3 combines best in class software applications with industry best practices and proven processes to meet the unique business needs of nonprofit organizations. To learn more about T3 Information Systems, visit www.t3infosystems.com.

 

 

Gig Werks 
Office Location:  Yonkers, New York, United States
Type:  Systems Integrator
Industry Focus:  Professional Services, Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Financial Services, Legal, and Manufacturing


Gig Werks is an Award Winning SharePoint solution provider with certified expertise across all aspects of SharePoint. Gig Werks understands the true value of SharePoint is delivered through an architecture where the entire feature set works together. While each area of functionality is powerful on its own, the true power of the platform is realized when experts with deep knowledge of the entire product set develop a comprehensive customer solution – where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Gig Werks provides clients with secure, connected solutions that streamline business processes and yield maximum returns on investment. For more information, visit www.Gig-Werks.com or follow us on Twitter @GigWerks or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GigWerks.

 

 

Congruent Software Inc. 
Office Location:  Bellevue, Washington, United States
Type:  Systems Integrator,VAR,Other
Industry Focus:  IT consulting services


Congruent, a Microsoft gold certified partner is a Global IT Services company which specializes in providing outsourced software development and systems integration services to ISVs and Fortune 500 companies alike. Being the single source for all your business technology needs, Congruent is headquartered at Seattle, Washington with its offshore development center based at Chennai, India.

 

 

Jack Frost Design 
Office Location:  San Ramon, California, United States
Type:  ISV,Training Firm,VAR,Other
Industry Focus:  Jack Frost Design is all about business and not necessarily about a specific industry. After 40+ years in business JFD has touched corporations, medium size businesses and some small business entities. No matter what industry you are in delivering a successful business initiative requires a strong command of four key business skills:•Business Operations: a solid understanding of workflow process and ROI (return on investment).•Marketing: the ability to identify and reach a target market with an effectively motivating message.•Technology: the technical skills to harness the most effective technologies for business process automation.•Branding: the ability to encapsulate all of the above factors within a unified vision that resonates with the target customer and builds loyalty.Because it only takes weakness in one of these areas to undermine what would have otherwise been a successful enterprise, Jack Frost Design has taken the unusual step of including each of these areas of expertise in a single company. It a unique approach. It has been successful for 40+ years.


SharePoint Makes it Possible. JFD Makes it HappenAt JFD we have a solid understanding and respect for SharePoint. We pioneered using the technology for public facing websites and we are skilled at configuring it to reduce the possibility of uncontrolled over deployment. We use the product the same way that most of our clients do.We also let ROI be our guide in the development of workflow automation and we never build without a financial goal and a documented blueprint or project plan. JFD has been brought in to clean up other partner's failed projects. And as a company we are most proud of our work ethic.

 

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