eyeclipse  
Fri, Dec 31, 2010
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Kinect revolution will blow your mind
Sometimes our economic systems have some great qualities. Capitalism always work like and engine for I+D+i applications since the last discovers the domestic applications. This context can offer a lot of great and incredible inventions. Like the laser, GPS, augmented reality or finally, MIcrosoft's Kinect.

Firstly, every technology is developed for military or scientist field, but every time the transition to domestic electronics is faster, and this is good, really good.

Remember MInority report? Surely the answer is yes. If you didn't knew this amazing movie, see the video below.


When I saw this scene, I wonder of interact with an application user interface like this. It's quite natural way, that could be a standard, and it will be directly linked with a physical feedback. That's great.

Usually movies shows a better future than reality (Blade Runner was set in the year 2014), but with these example, and for first time, I think reality is a step forward, and it's growing faster, on a exponential way boosted by different factors that you can read on this post. And this is an outstanding futuristic situation!

With Kinect technology out, for US150$ and a lot of hungry developers, new sensations and ways to interact were a sweet chance to try. Every technology comes to our homes faster, and Kinect is the last incredible example.

Kinect is a technology that allow to interact with devices moving your body, no controller and no limits, only imagination.

See on this video the maping projected by the sensor to track and made every object and place everyone on a room.
With the results, Kinect software can redraw the scene virtually on 3D, and aply the image captured by the device.

One week later
Just one week later, internet was full of creative examples of how Kinect is made for more things that only games. I love these two from Flight404 for the creative image manipulating habilities.

Robert Hodgin aka Flight404 posted these videos to his vimeo account. Runs in realtime.


This could be the future of VFX production; how chroma industry may work on some time.


You can check the Creative Applications Network list to stay tunned about different Kinect projects progression.

Virtual Reality could be redesigned too, and become more affordable. Check this Kinect + HMD glasses video.

Let's go for something outstanding
Taylor Veltrop, is an american ingenier, he had developed a software to control Kondo KHR-1HV, a little robot with 3D motion tracking based on Kinect.

It's amazing how fluids the robot moves are, and it's incredible that this technology was applied like this in a few days.

Kinect Teleoperation of Humanoid Robot:


It's a pity the incomplet movement of the robot, but Taylor is working on it (he build all the staff).

But this is not a reason to stop imaging, lots of companies work on robots, "mechas" and how it will be controlled. The WIND (Wireless Intelligent Networked Device) permits robot control with the use of a SiP (System in Package) chip, packing the full functionality of a personal computer onto a single semiconductor. The WIND operates a robot by detecting and recognizing human movement and performing wireless transmissions of operation instructions to a robot.

You can see how a new kind of mechanism could work. I think the robot records the movements and plays it after a while, but don't forget see how the robot moves.



Explication of the system (a little poor and simply)

It's a very interesting way to explore building a new market. The way we make our merchandise circulation and transportation could be improved a lot. We can brake the gravity restrictions, weights, manipulating sizes... a new industry will born, when? I don't know, but seems more early than ever.

Again, you will found some examples on sifi movies, like one latest Avatar, but seems like reality is going far and quickly exploding this applications.


The Kinect control seems more elegant and natural than the other "suits" options.

*Did you know about Robot Suit HAL? out since middle 2009 for US$4,200. What a competitive price!
Yes, it's the same company name which appears on Terminator movies, again with a movie conection (this one is hilarious!)


What about Microsoft?
Microsoft know what kind of technology has in his hands. But, actually the recent presentation of Kinect was focused on games. Games actually on sale are very "casual", but fun and simply to use. Oficially, we don't know how Kinect will perfom on more sophicticated games, but there are some non-oficial examples. One of this with the famous World of warcraft:



World of Warcraft has reached more than 12 million subscribers worldwide.

With the features of Kinect technology, like face recognition, video conference... MS can aply all of this to his online services.

The Xbox LIVE service is available on every console, and last days revealed that 50% of the 25 million Xbox Live members are actually Gold subscribers. That puts the figure at around 12.5 million and those member pay for an excellend connection features.

What about the technology itself?
Primesense is the company behind Kinect's technology. They wan to deliver the technology ported on a smaller and powerful device, bringing the Kinect control to TVs, PCs...
The company are proud of the posibilities and are making investments to achieve a return for I+D+i expensive years.

Last days, with the increasing developments from the community, they put online the oficial drivers and API, with their own frameworks to join the community with this new way of interaction. Recently, they created the site openni.org to share directly this knowledge.

Also, thanks to firmware updates, there are news about 360 console Kinect resolution could greatly improve performance from 320x240 to 640x480.

What about interaction?
Watching the possibilities and how were implemented, Jacob Nielsen, a famous usability expert, made a review of the Kinect implementation with released games. In general, Jacob was happy with the implementation; there are more mistakes and inconsistencies, but they are simply games from different brands, when you play, the experience was fun and easy.

Jacob focus on a interaction method: Sign in process:

The most compelling usability advance is the way Kinect automatically signs in users after recognizing their faces. Step in front of the sensor, and "Jakob recognized" appears on the screen, after which the current game starts using my customized avatar. This is the type of interaction technique I called a "non-command user interface" in 1993: You don't feel that you're issuing commands to a computer; you simply go about your business the way you normally would, and the computer does what's needed to complete its part of the task.

Every technology that Jacok and his team had reviewed becomes more efficient and easy for the final user. It's true and Jacok is happy :)

Conclusions
As you can see, I think Kinect technology will "rocks the house... and world", but not for the technology itself. I think that based on the situation; how in a month a "knowhow" was spread over the world, with and oficial community and interests behind, and how the imaginative ways of interaction will push the penetration of this recent technology.

Remeber, only in a month and 1 Xmas!!

Kinect sold 4 Million units during the first 6 weeks after launch. It will be fun check these numbers after christmas season.

P.D.: If you guess about which application could be designed for the sex industry, wich move millions, actually, there is an example, too :)


Fri, Dec 31, 2010  Permanent link
Categories: future, evolution, UI, technology, microsoft
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eyeclipse     Fri, Jan 7, 2011  Permanent link
Now, we have the numbers: 8 million Kinect sensors sold worldwide. Microsoft had showed the data on CES 2011.

Microsoft also discovered a new application for Kinect, Avatar Kinect, a chat room with telepresence. The application seems forgettable, but the algorithm to transmit the movements and the improved precision focused on human factors could be memorable :D
Stay tuned!