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Hackers Harness Microsoft's Kinect For Business and Pleasure


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Microsoft Kinect

Computer motion control has applications well beyond gaming some businesses are starting to exploit in ways that further breaks down the divide between work and play.

Scientific American / Larry Greenmeier

When Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 debuted in November, it offered a revolutionary way to interact with gaming systems, using only bodily motion as the controller. Already a success in the home—Microsoft says it has sold eight million Kinect sensors so far—controllerless computer interfaces could soon move beyond play to help out in the work place, for example, enabling manipulation of digital files using only gestures à la the film Minority Report. Researchers suggest motion controlled computing might one day help make office drudgery as enjoyable as dancing and sports or as relaxing as yoga and tai chi.

Kinect is a motion-sensing Webcamlike add-on for the Xbox 360 game console that uses an infrared scanner to create 3D models of people as they move. This allows people to play games by, for example, moving their arms in a swimming motion, shimmying their bodies or other so-called natural interactions.

The Kinect has quickly drawn the attention not just of gamers but of hackers as well. Programmers developed code to tap into the raw data from the Kinect less than a week after the device came out. In doing so, they have created a thriving community testing the limits of what it could really do, such as helping mobile robots respond to gestural commands and creating interactive public art exhibits...

From Scientific American
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