PC-optimized Kinect in the works

Microsoft continues to push its Kinect motion controller toward the PC. The SDK is out, promotional videos are pimping the device’s programmability, and changes are being made to the hardware to make it friendlier to typical PC environments. The upcoming PC version of Kinect will have shorter cables and a dongle that plays nicely with other USB devices. Tweaks are also being made to the firmware to support motion tracking at closer proximities.

With the living room in mind, the Xbox version of Kinect is designed to track motion at a distance of 6-8 feet. PC users tend to sit much closer to their systems, so a “near mode” has been created with a sweet spot between 40 and 50 cm, or 1.3-1.6 feet. Based on how my own desk is set up, the near mode should work perfectly with a Kinect placed just under my monitor.

Windows users in particular should be no strangers to directing, er, gestures toward their PCs, so I’m curious to see if Kinect catches on. I can see the potential for slick gesture recognition in Windows 8, especially since the touch-friendly Metro UI should be well suited to sweeping movements. Microsoft says the PC version of Kinect is coming next year along with a commercial program that will allow developers to profit off their Kinect-enabled apps. Thanks to EuroGamer for the tip.

Comments closed
    • yammerpickle2
    • 8 years ago

    Went to the local Best Buy recently. Nobody was even using the demo for Kinect this holiday shopping season. So it has been a good year now, and it is still laggy, and inaccurate. Yaw, maybe they will get my money when the up the resolution and the sample rate both by a factor of four and actually has some software that is developed with this in mind instead of just slapped on as a poorly integrated add on. Until then my laser mouse is way more smooth and precise. Let’s not forget my mouse has a fraction of the lag, and is fully integrated into everything I do. I still would love to see the technology get refined and integrated, but until I see a real demonstration of real software that is competitive with my laser mouse they can market this overhyped tech to the consoles.

    • Aveon
    • 8 years ago

    The fact is Kinect did not sell good with XBOXes. So Here is Microsoft trying to stick it to PC users.

    I would not deny it would be a good addon unless we have a strong software support to complement the usage.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    Kintect’s grand-daddy.

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYDuy7wM8Gk[/url<]

    • FuturePastNow
    • 8 years ago

    I can think of some visual gestures that might be useful.

    Walk away and don’t come back for 5 minutes -> lock screen

    Thumbs up -> save file

    Thumbs down -> delete file

    Wave -> computer goes to sleep

    Give computer the finger -> open Task Manager

      • albundy
      • 8 years ago

      even though you can do this at less than one tenth of the time with a mouse. lets face it, the device is counter-productive.

        • Aveon
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah except the last one .

      • Palek
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe we can have a literal ROFL gesture, too!

    • Dposcorp
    • 8 years ago

    The medical and army scene seem to make a lot of sense.
    I like the scene with the kid getting therapy and moving his leg……..I can see that for sure…make healing and rehab fun.
    The rest are maybes.

    • njsutorius
    • 8 years ago

    Can anyone name the song/band in this video.. its on the tip of my tounge but its killing me..

      • wezaleff
      • 8 years ago

      [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGXdXcpNsv4<]The Pixies, "Where Is My Mind"[/url<]

        • njsutorius
        • 8 years ago

        THANK YOU!!!

      • Forge
      • 8 years ago

      You weren’t flashing back to the Fight Club end titles? I could see the credit card processing headquarters collapsing in flames…

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 8 years ago

    This commercial reminds me of some of 3dfx’s old commercials. Then we decided to use our chip for games, AAAARGH!

    Kinect is pointless, other than implementing a nationwide 1984 spying infrastructure. The tv is now watching you.

      • Geistbar
      • 8 years ago

      [url=http://www.amazon.com/Reynolds-Wrap-Aluminum-Foil-Total/dp/B001R2NM5U/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1<]Here you go.[/url<] It sounds like you might need it.

      • fantastic
      • 8 years ago

      I agree. I don’t want a webcam or microphone plugged in all of the time either. There’s no point. Unless you’re constantly video/audio conferencing or something. I keep my microphone and webcam in a drawer and unplugged for when I want to use them. Sure you could unplug the Kinnect, but if it’s tied to the OS, you’re always on TV and you don’t really know who’s looking at it without packet sniffing everything on your network interface.

      It’s an expensive toy for people that like gimmicks, like 3D televisions with LCD glasses. Feel free to improve on the human interface, but cameras don’t seem like the way to do it.

      By the way, I read 1984 in 1984. Just for the novelty. In this world, a little paranoia is healthy, in my opinion.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 8 years ago

        Agreed. Paranoia is one thing, blind ignorance is another. There are plenty of real privacy threats in your day to day life and most people don’t even realize it. None of us are truly safe until the patriot act is repealed.

        Here’s some examples:
        OnStar. Spies on you even if you aren’t paying for the service.
        Tom Tom. Sold your data to the cops.
        iPhone. Kept GPS data location points of everywhere you’ve been. (All cellphones are capable of tracking you down, and most have remote-on capabilities. 1996 Telecommunications Act.)
        School Laptops. Secretly spied on kids via web-cams.

        Companies will sell your data to anyone if they can get away with it. Sometimes it’s for advertisement, other times it’s for the gov. I don’t approve of either.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    An effective controller has precision, speed, and tactile feedback.
    The Kinnect failed, failed, and failed, barely holding its ground as a gimmick toy.

    The only Kinnect games that are fun are things like the dance games, where you dance and the Kinnect masks the hideous lag by telling you that the move you did 500+ ms ago was good. Like some of the Wiimote games, you realise that fighting the controller is the gimmick, and that the game is crap (shallow and unchallenging) if you take that away.

    I am particularly fond of Yahtzee’s review of the Kinnect:
    [url<]http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/4863-Kinect[/url<]

      • kroker
      • 8 years ago

      Future iterations will probably reduce the lag and improve speed and precision. How can you expect the first version of a new technology to get everything right? We have to start from somewhere, and personally I think this is a pretty impressive device.

      • njsutorius
      • 8 years ago

      Your assessment sounds more like you are a fanboy of something or other..
      The only good games that I enjoy with Kinect are the sport games. They are responsive and the feel is excellent , and you get one hell of a workout.
      Whether you like it or not motion control with your hands will be a part of the future. You wont use it for everything, but it will be used for many things.

      • Cuhulin
      • 8 years ago

      Chrispy, your message goes off the track with its first sentence. Kinect is not just a controller, it’s a part of the environment of the game.

      One can grant that, as a first effort, Kinect has less precision and less speed than would be desirable. Early handwriting recognition was poor — it’s only somewhat better now. Early speech recognition was poor — it’s doing better. Kinect is just the first step.

      With regard to tactile feedback, I just don’t see that as an issue. The entire point of Kinect is that it is wireless, does not require that you hold a controller, allows you to play tennis in a space where your racket would hit the ceiling on a serve — i.e., is not tactile. In a boxing game, I would just as soon not have the tactile feedback of lowering my hands too much!

      As to Yahtzee’s review, that goes more to one game than to a proper implementation of Kinect. Are we to judge television by “My Mother the Car”?

      Kinect is a first generation technology. As such, it has its flaws. However, it’s a pretty good implementation for such a first generation, and the sales numbers say that it has done anything by fail.

        • Chrispy_
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]One can grant that, as a first effort, Kinect has less precision and less speed than would be desirable[/quote<] Sure. When they fix it so that it doesn't suck, my attitude towards it will likely change. You can make some types of games work around the limitations of rubbish controller, but that doesn't change the fact that the controller itself is still rubbish.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    I still don’t understand the purpose of a Kinect… It’s like Microsofts take on the Wii-mote and they’re trying to steal Nintendos pie share without a software base that supports it.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      Just think of it as a wireless, 3D mouse that’ll work with any Windows application, and the potential will start to become clear….

      EDIT: a wireless, [i<]programmable[/i<] 3D mouse...

        • yogibbear
        • 8 years ago

        This is the only area I see this kind of tech shinning. However I don’t think MS have realised this, and at the moment it’s all stupid games.

          • Captain Ned
          • 8 years ago

          Just wait until the pr0n types figure out what to do with it.

            • Bensam123
            • 8 years ago

            It needs a reactive suit first. 🙁

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        I have… I don’t think many people have outside of it just being really cool…

        Googles Take:
        [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bu927_ul_X0[/url<]

    • Geistbar
    • 8 years ago

    If this ends up being successful enough, I could see the mid-long term future of this being to have a basic Kinect-technology that gets integrated into webcams. It’s the only way I can see it reaching any kind of critical mass- I think effectively every laptop shipped these days has a webcam in it. Desktops would be a bit more work, but if it works well enough people might buy webcams for them just for the new tech.

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    How about just license it to PC manufacturers and you have a renewed interest in the desktop/laptop markets again? Hell, build it into Windows Mobile. Kinect is actually something Microsoft should be a lot more proud of/take advantage of.

      • tootercomputer
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, this could be interesting. A gesture-centric controller vs. Apple’s voice-centric control. Interesting stuff any way you look at it.

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