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Input Devices Microsoft Windows

Microsoft Prepares To Push Kinect Everywhere Windows Is 90

An anonymous reader writes "Technology Review has an update on Microsoft's effort to push Kinect gesture control technology beyond the Xbox console and make it a standard Windows computer accessory. Microsoft has sold Kinect for Windows hardware to developers since February and now products based on it are appearing, such as GestSure's system for surgeons in the operating room. Microsoft won't say when it will begin selling Kinect for Windows hardware directly to consumers, but seems poised to do so once enough developers have readied applications."
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Microsoft Prepares To Push Kinect Everywhere Windows Is

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:06PM (#41742981)

    Just hold your phone out in front of you, and wave you other arm and legs to control. It's so simple, even a three year old can do it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're holding it wrong.

    • by tchall ( 1146319 )

      Just hold your phone out in front of you, and wave you other arm and legs to control. It's so simple, even a three year old can do it.

      ONLY a three year old could do it!(VBG)

  • ....I don't really feel the need to spend four-to-five times the cost of their latest OS just to use the interface I don't need.

  • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:08PM (#41743035)

    Well that is one way one to make Windows 8 easier to use on the desktop.

    • Of course, you have to move your hands all the way to the edge of the camera to get the options.

    • It's just a shame that the "no compromise" formerly-known-as-Metro interface was redesigned from the ground up for the new interfaces of today and they didn't include the Xbox accessories in that plan... (I was a little disappointed I couldn't use my Xbox controller to navigate the Windows 8 Xbox themed apps such as games, music, video for example)
    • So awesome.

      “You could even tap out numbers on a make-believe number pad to call someone on your cell without actually having to take it out your pocket. Fuck knows how you’d talk to them, but who the hell cares when you’re basically Tom Cruise from Minority Report.”

      With the technology likely to become commercially available within the next few years, analysts expect it to be popular among Kinect users and other people with no self-respect.

  • wants to be waving their hands around, trying to get their computer to do what they want, because that is the best way to interface with a computer!

    • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:29PM (#41743287)
      I just want to be able at some point to say, "Oh. A keyboard. How quaint."
    • by nojayuk ( 567177 )
      Isn't waving your hands around how you make an iPad do what you want? Or is that different?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        It's a bit different - in the iPad's case you're sliding your hands around wildly on a screen, leaving greasy finger marks on it, but at least people walking into the room know you're fighting with your iPad. With Kinect, you're waving your hands wildly in the air - no greasy finger marks, but people walking into the room will wonder if you're having a bad acid trip and trying to kill the spiders.

        That being said, I know five people who own Kinects (only one has an XBox), but only one person who has an iP
        • Also, does this mean black people won't be able to use Windows anymore without wearing gloves and masks, or have they fixed that little glitch in the Kinect?

          Wasn't that 'glitch' essentially traced to poorly-lit rooms? It was a factor at least.

      • Isn't waving your hands around how you make an iPad do what you want? Or is that different?

        Well, when I gesture on my iPad, it does what I want ... when I try to use some of the stuff in my Kinect, I find myself repeating myself or going back to the controller.

        In some games, the Kinect interface is almost useless. I can't imagine trying to work with it, it's got a long way to go for that.

        The latest Tiger Woods game is bordering on painful in places ... move your hand right or left to do something, move rig

        • How well lit is the room?
          • How well lit is the room?

            Well enough for the screen insert which shows the camera view to have a good outline of me and be able to show brightly colored blobs where my hands are.

            It can definitely see me.

      • No, waving your hands around is how you get an iPHONE to work.

        You're not holding it right!

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      Back in the bad old days when I was forced to use a Windows computer, I used to wave my hands (and one particular finger) at it a lot... it didn't seem to do to much but it made me feel better.

  • How about (Score:3, Interesting)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:15PM (#41743099)

    How about they fix it on the xbox first. I can't even watch a DVD on the XBOX without a controller for some reason.

    • The Kinect really needs to have several orders of magnitude greater resolution than the current system. It should be able to track individual fingers and facial expressions. Right now, it is just frustrating to use.
      • It's speech recognition also sucks. I have to say "Xbox play!" at least six times before it does anything.
        • I disagree. My Xbox remote was destroyed about a month ago, so I resorted to using voice commands until I could buy a new remote. Since then, I haven't even considered buying a remote, and my girlfriend is even using the voice recognition as well. My favorite is the "next episode" during Netflix marathons. That was indispensable when I had the flu last week and was laid up on the couch. Obviously voice recognition isn't ideal for everyone, but for some reason it seems to be tuned pretty well to my voice.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gewalker ( 57809 )

        Check out leap [] watch the video, still claiming that that will ship in early 2013.

      • You insensitive clod! Some of us don't have individual fingers OR facial expressions!
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        That was my evaluation when I got it. I thought that it was a really neat toy, but by version 3 or maybe 4, it would be the kind of thing I might want to run as a real tool.
    • I've had no problems with it. I particularly like the voice control.

      The joke of it is that there hasn't been much in the way of gaming for the thing... which is really what it was supposed to be for.

    • Why would anyone want the Kinect to control DVD playback?

      I have the Kinect. I like it for some things. But I believe game developers need to spend much more time creating things for which the Kinect works well rather than trying to shoehorn it into existing games (including future versions, etc.).

      But why don't you just get a modern Universal Remote? X-Box ought to be a standard option. Works fine for me.

      • by afidel ( 530433 )

        I didn't even realize the xbox 360 had an IR port. I guess I'll have to program my receivers remote to control the xbox on DVD function mode =)

        I should still be able to control it through the Kinect if I want since there's no reason for it to not work (given that third parties have figured out how to do media control with the Kinect it's obviously possible and something people have asked for).

    • The Kinect Gesture challenge over at Kaggle [] was a competition where the goal was to match gestures with a specified dictionary of previously-recorded gestures.

      The problem isn't the resolution, it's the recognition algorithm.

      A human looking at the videos could easily distinguish between gestures and interpret the meaning. The problem was even easier for a human because you only had to choose the closest match from within the dozen-or-so gestures in the dictionary. This leads me to believe that it's not a pro

      • by tgd ( 2822 )

        The Kinect Gesture challenge over at Kaggle [] was a competition where the goal was to match gestures with a specified dictionary of previously-recorded gestures.

        The problem isn't the resolution, it's the recognition algorithm.

        Its a little bit of both, actually. The problem isn't resolution, from a hardware standpoint -- its the point density on the IR projector and the lens on the IR camera that limits how close you can be to a Kinect and still have any accuracy. Once your depth cues go wonky, gesture recognition becomes much harder.

        Gesture recognition, while not trivial, is not intrinsically more complicated than whole body tracking. The way Kinect does it is very clever, knowing basically "where can the body have moved from wh

  • What Apps? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:18PM (#41743147)

    I have this application that keeps track of my personnel and HR resources. Before Kinect, I hated to fire people. It was always a miserable experience.

    But now with Kinect, I love to fire people! I rewrote the code so all I have to do is highlight your HR Record, stand in front of my Kinect, and dance, baby, dance!!! Kinect made Christmas fun again. We're usually low on money around Christmas, and with the new fiscal year, we often have to lay people off in bulk. So, my HR staff and I have dance-offs to decide who goes and who stays! It's a real hoot! If HR wins, you stay for another day! If I win, *poof* you're gone!

    Thanks Microsoft!!!

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:21PM (#41743173)

    I don't have any issues with Kinect it's pretty good hardware, you can get better but the idea and the price is rather good. If it came with my PC or was a fairly cheep upgrade say 50 to 75 dollars i"d pick it up.

    Until they get that though I really doubt I'll pick it up. That and there needs to be a genuine application that kinect is genuinely a must have for.

  • I would rather ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:28PM (#41743275)
    ... have one of these [].
  • GestSure (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    GestSure? Gesture? More like "Guessed? Sure!" Am I right? High five gesture!

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      GestSure? Gesture? More like "Guessed? Sure!" Am I right? High five gesture!

      The gestures and language I use when trying to get things done in windows aren't for children to see or hear.

  • What sort of replacement gesture might be required to replace the traditional three-finger-salute?
    • Hopefully they'll set it to respond to what I've always done before giving it the 3 finger, I give it the 1 finger salute.
  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @02:42PM (#41743445)

    When it first came out I thought "gimmick." Then I read blogs and new stories for over year after it came out with people talking about how cool it was. I still didn't believe it. But when it came time to buy the XBox for my kid, I decided we needed to have it just to see what it was about. I was actually excited to try it out. We lived our first weekend with the living room in disarray so we could have room to use it.

    Of course, the novelty wore off very quickly and all it does now is collect dust and take up space in front of the TV. It's voice control sucks and using it with the menu system with gestures is just annoying. It's far easier to use the controller.

    At least I can say I tried it, I guess.

  • If Kinect allows Microsoft and partners receiving the video feed, recognize facial expressions and general movements, get audio, understand the room's geometry, etc. then I can see why a company would want to have such a device connected to every machine in every home!
  • Reminds me of []

    (Was discussed on Slashdot a while back.)

  • I wonder what the terms and conditions governing the 'anonymous' gathering of information for Microsoft's advertising arm will be?

  • Is it just me? Or didn't everything even remotely cool that was done with the connect happen on something other than windows?
  • I wonder if they make the system shutdown or restart the same gesture as picking up a cup of coffee and setting it down?
  • Why the hell would a surgeon use hand gestures? Their hands are the most occupied part of their body! Speech recognition, or a helpful nurse/assistant that can hear you talk would be 1000 times better. The ONLY use I can see for a kinect in the operating table would be for recording physical locations by pointing and posibly measuring stuff on the fly (though I don't think the resolution is high enough yet for either of these tasks).
    • For surgery simulations, and training. It is becoming more popular to train students on these simulations (it is easier to simulate complications, than to wait for them to happen in real life patients). There is also research on whether remote surgery is possible. If it is, I assume the kinetic will be very useful.

      • Actually, after RTFAing, it does seem to be for aiding real life surgeons by providing a touch free interface to view images and such, I am not sure why any surgeon would want that.

  • If Microsoft is really serious about this, they should actively approach developers and send them SDK kits.
    I wouldn't mind having access to the tech and SDK for Zoom Player without having to jump through too many hoops.

  • Kinect is a success in that it sold a lot of units, but it's a miserable failure at selling games outside the dance genre. This year's release list is littered with Kinect games that bombed in spectacular fashion, as it's just good a good system of control for gaming.

    Are they going to fix that, or are they going to just make everything else equally as bad as the gaming experience?

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      IS who going to fix it? slapping kinetic usage on top of a game not designed for it by smart people is a developer issue.

      I've seen it work well in too many instance to think it's a kinetic issue as opposed to a developer issue.

  • The new WinRT tablets coming out will all have USB ports. They really should build the Kinect SDK into the Windows Runtime so Metro (i.e. "Modern") apps can access it. Right now only desktop apps can access the Kinect SDK.
  • I like it. I would get one, if the price were right, and I'm assuming that it would bring something beyond what my HD web cam can do (and Kinect seems to have infrared now, so apparently that's a yes). The implications for Skype are obvious, but this could potentially be an easy way to perform simple tasks in Windows.

    There is potential here. I love technology, so I say bring it on and let's see where we can go with it.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.