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Indian Engineers Modify Kinect To Help the Blind Walk With Confidence

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  • by hellkyng (1920978) on Monday February 06, 2012 @07:01PM (#38947425)

    The more I hear about Kinect the more it makes it seem like one of the more revolutionary products that Microsoft has ever come out with...

    • by timeOday (582209) on Monday February 06, 2012 @07:10PM (#38947499)
      I don't find that ridiculous. What's ridiculous is that some people thought it was comparable to the wiimote. Kinect won't displace gamepads, but cheap depth-field sensing is too useful to go away.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Why would you say that? i haven't gotten to try the new ones but the ones that came with my nephew's Wii were frankly kinda lame. Sure you could do big movements like bowling or tennis, but trying to get precise movements on the RE game he had was more frustration than anything. while I haven't tried the kinect so i have no idea how it does on precise movements I don't see how it could suck worse than them first gen wiimotes. And as to whether they bought it or built it, who cares? Apple bought siri and it
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        I don't find that ridiculous. What's ridiculous is that some people thought it was comparable to the wiimote. Kinect won't displace gamepads, but cheap depth-field sensing is too useful to go away.

        And that was Kinect's main advantage. Wiimote, Move, they use special controllers and your games are limited to that.

        Microsoft is proving that you can combine Kinect AND controllers. Some games use Kinect's microphone array for voice commands (which does noise and audio cancellation to enable long-range voice reco

    • When I heard about the motion controls on the wii, I thought "This is going to make for some pretty cool games!"

      It turned out to be mostly a stupid gimmick, or at best an answer to a question no one asked.

      When I heard about the kinect, I thought "Great, another stupid, pointless product no one will use."

      Maybe I should buy stock in whatever company makes these [thinkgeek.com].
    • Notice that all of these stories about Kinect don't actually relate to its stated purpose. Kind of ironic that Kinect seems useful for everything except gaming.
      • Actually Microsoft has had plans beyond gaming for the Kinect for some time. They just announced/released the "Kinect for Windows" for Laptops and Desktops, and they have been testing the technology in classrooms and medical facilities, as well as releasing a Kinect SDK for the non-hacker.
      • by unixisc (2429386)
        You seem to be suggesting that modifying it into something to help the blind walk confidently is a bad thing
    • by dbc (135354)

      The technology was developed by PrimeSense. Microsoft's gaming unit brought it into Microsoft. As I understand it, Primesense was initially aiming to make it part of every television as a remote control device. No longer will you lose the remote behind the couch cushions. The robotics community jumped on the Kinect right away, since high resolution distance measurement of the robot's environment is a long standing problem. Out of the box, though, I think the Kinect in its current form has trouble in out

  • Well done to the team who worked on this project. I love hearing about positive contributions like this.
  • of Microsoft execs and get them to forget about Windows Phones.

  • Indoor use only... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    beings that the Kinect uses unmodulated IR, sunlight will completely wash out the dim IR coming from the Kinect.

  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Monday February 06, 2012 @07:17PM (#38947545) Homepage
    Microsoft has finally embraced and extended the term crash!
  • There was an ultrasound torch developed 20-30 years ago, for helping blind people navigate. It was designed to help people find objects, and give different sounds for different objects (tree, hard wall etc.). It wasn't successful, but some people did use it. They spoke to the blind people who did use it, and found that they were using it to find gaps, not to find objects. The design might have been different if it had been optimised for finding gaps.

  • At the 39 second mark, was that guy using a using a mac?
  • Kinect is uneffective in daylight. They have to use a custom built kinect variant in order to get the infra camera to sense the projected dots in sunshine. The sun is quite a rival as source of infra light :) It also have hard time detecting shiny surfaces. The dangerous objects and situations make a fine list for the users :)
  • There already is a device in common use which is very useful to "help alert the blind to obstacles that lie in their path." Better yet, it only costs about $40, has unlimited power supply, weighs under a pound, and is completely portable. Here is a photo. [nfb.org]
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      Horses and buggies were also better and more reliable than the earliest automobiles. I understand the point you're making. High tech isn't a solution for everything, but stuff like this is worth a shot at the R&D stage. You're never really sure that you can't improve a technology until you give it a try.

      • by cwgmpls (853876)
        Even the most rudimentary automobiles displayed potential advantages over using horses -- longer range, higher payload capacity, higher sustained speeds, and so on. In all of the descriptions of this Kinect hack, I don't hear any description of the potential advantages over using a cane. The only advantage I can think of is it avoids the strong negative social stigma attached to using a cane. If the only problem with canes is social stigma, a social remedy would be much more appropriate and effective tha

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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