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.
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.