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Exploring Microsoft Kinect for Windows

  • Posted on March 27, 2013

What started as a gaming device from Microsoft is continuing to generate buzz and curiosity from our customers.  Last week, Microsoft released its latest software update for Kinect for Windows and the functionality keeps improving its use in business scenarios.  Kinect is a commodity device allowing an application to gain information about the real world—about a user’s presence, stance, facial direction, expression, movement and voice.  This can be used for gestures or voice commands to an application, as a means of control.  Or, it can be used in a more passive may to gather information about the presence of people, their numbers and movements without direct interaction.

Possible Scenario: Leveraging Kinect for elevator use

Each month, I’m talking with multiple customers who want to learn more about Kinect and how it may apply to their business.  Today, we see most applicability to the Retail and Health industries, however, that is quickly moving into the Manufacturing space and some other horizontal scenarios. We've completed projects for customers around digital signage, interactive displays, and virtual healthcare, but we’re challenging ourselves and our customers to think beyond active interaction with the Kinect.  The Kinect has a camera and ability to capture depth, enabling Kinect to be utilized in a passive state (i.e., natural user observation).  What if you used Kinect to observe what was happening on a plant floor to do proactive safety monitoring?  Avanade has developed a solution that monitors retail displays and captures unique information about the consumer as they interact with the products.  I was talking with an elevator manufacturer last week about placing a Kinect in the lobby of a building so when you walk up to the elevator, the door just opens and you don’t need to press a button?

Building on these scenarios is new functionality bundled in the latest Kinect software release enabling what Microsoft calls Kinect Fusion--the ability to create highly accurate 3-D renderings of people and objects in real time.  This opens up the opportunity to explore and navigate virtual spaces and manipulate 3-D models.

The natural user experience space is evolving quickly and Kinect for Windows is just one of the tools that can be utilized to improve interaction.  If you haven’t yet taken a look, check it out, as you may be surprised.  It’s no longer just a gaming device.

Maryellen Skelton

Who DOESN''T see this as the early version of the holodeck? Seriously.... And as such, the possibilities are endless. Much more sophisticated hardware and points of input are needed but this is PONG people. What''s it gonna look like when it hits the xBox stage? Exciting times these....

August 10, 2013

Cristian

Only thing is that kinect for windows costs as much as half of an elevator door...

April 2, 2013

Keith

I''m a little confused on the elevator idea Aaron. Haven''t grocery stores had automatic doors for decades, without the need for this technology? How does the Kinect fit in?

April 2, 2013

Aaron Reich

As you point out, buildings have had automatic doors for years. The idea on the elevators was to generate some different thinking, plus possibly linking to facial recognition that Kinect has for say an apartment or condo. I agree that in many instances Kinect could be used, but a touch screen or other technology may be better. It''s really about the context and thinking about the end user. I like to challenge sometimes the conventional thinking to get the conversation going and see where it leads.

April 3, 2013

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