I’ve never been one for future prediction posts, but I can’t but help think that Microsoft might have released something significant with Kinect.
Of course they aren’t they only ones working in this field of gesture and touch screen computing (e.g. Nokia). What’s different is that:
- Kinect was designed for the Xbox 360, but its a generalised “natural user interface using gestures, spoken commands, or presented objects and images“; and
- The smarts behind Kinect are available to anyway to play and experiment with for just AU$199.
I’m particularly encouraged by hearing this reported comment from Microsoft:
We are perfectly comfortable with hobbyists taking advantage of that raw data [that is output from Kinect] to explore the exciting possibilities of Kinect for Xbox 360 for themselves.
The game console industry hasn’t always had a comfortable relationship with the hobbyist and research industry, which I can understand when you consider their business models. Still, while we might view the Xbox system as being a ‘closed’ one, Microsoft Window’s proprietary operating system is actually open for people to develop on top of and perhaps its this heritage that makes them a little more comfortable with the idea. I certainly hope so – the innovation around Kinect is going to be interesting, to say the least.