Report: Asus working on Kinect-enabled notebooks

Forget bigger touchpads—motion controls could be integrated into your next notebook. The Daily says Asus showed it a pair of prototype systems with built-in Kinect functionality. The systems run Windows 8, and sources at Microsoft reportedly referred to the notebooks as “official prototypes,” suggesting Redmond is encouraging PC makers to bring motion controls to their systems.

Although hackers have been using Kinect on the PC for quite some time now, the motion controller’s official launch on the platform isn’t until February 1. That’s when you’ll be able to buy a proper Kinect kit for Windows, albeit at quite a premium. The Windows version is listed at Amazon for a whopping $250, which is only $30 less than it costs to get the motion controller bundled with an Xbox 360 console. If Kinect-enabled notebooks carry a similar price premium, I doubt they’ll be popular.

Motion controls have intriguing potential for notebooks, though. Windows 8 will presumably be laden with gesture controls designed for touchscreen input, and I suspect many of those functions could easily be controled with simple hand gestures. If those gestures can be performed while lifing one’s hands just off the keyboard, they might be quicker to execute than reaching down to swipe the touchpad or up to fat-finger the display. This functionality may ultimately be better suited to all-in-one desktops than notebooks, since continually scanning the user’s body for motion probably isn’t good for battery life.

Comments closed
    • Anarchist
    • 8 years ago

    geez … enough of these useless gimmicks and start doing something that is actually useful. How about a tablet that can double as a USB display? How about a laptop that can take input from external video and display in picture-in-picture mode?

    • WaltC
    • 8 years ago

    Off hand I wouldn’t think that “scanning for motion” need be necessarily more “battery intensive” than “scanning for touch” input inside a touch screen. Either method continuously polls for input of a specific kind. I would agree with you that the Kinect polling likely consumes more power, but I don’t really know the specifics. It’s probably only an engineering issue, though.

    Interesting article that caused me to see Kinect in a new way–it’s made me believe that much of the potential of Kinect is latent and simply dormant at present. Although not an xBox or Kinect fan myself, I can certainly see how a Kinect interface to personal computing could very well be a technology to obsolete the touch screen as a gui in many devices. It seems like a logical move forward, and touch-screen technology itself is old hat and has been around for a long time. Still, I do not think that either touch screens or Kinect-type technologies will ever obsolete the common keyboard–it’s simply too comfortable, too economical, and too efficient at what it does.

    I also loathe all-in-one desktops today as much as I did >25 years ago…;) If any part of the all-in-one has to go into the shop for repair *the whole thing* goes in or nothing goes in. I am a component man all the way–I don’t want to have to purchase an entirely new computer simply to get a better/bigger monitor, a better cpu, DVD drive, etc.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    Why is it sooo expensive? $200 for the driver support or something?

    Almost as bad as MS Office… which I can at least justify as I use it quite often.

      • no51
      • 8 years ago

      It’s only expensive if you think it’s just a fancy webcam. It’s really cheap if you think of it as an entry level [s<]machine vision system[/s<] 3D scanner.

        • ew
        • 8 years ago

        Unless this is superior to the Xbox version in some way there is no reason it should be this expensive.

          • Arag0n
          • 8 years ago

          the xbox version is subsidized by XBOX Live monthly payments and kinect games fees… That’s the problem of subsidizing something, you make people lose the perspective about what is the real price of things…

          • EsotericLord
          • 8 years ago

          In addition to the SDK, the PC version supports much closer ranges than the Xbox version.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 8 years ago

    Kinect for Xbox 360 can be used with Windows PC if you don’t plan any commercial use.

    • Parallax
    • 8 years ago

    Now if only the input lag could be reduced. 30fps gives a minimum 33ms delay, and that’s before processing and using multiple frames to recognize motion.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      At 60 FPS, with 2 frames for processing, this gives 50ms. Which seems reasonable to me. So they need to double the speed.

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