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Microsoft Kinect: The hot new device of the year

Team YS
26th Nov 2010
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Microsoft Kinect

For those who are not gamers or not following tech news here’s a YouTubeVideo of the Microsoft Kinect without the marketing fluff. To see Microsoft’s pitch you can view this one. Launched on November 4 Microsoft has raised its sales target from 3 million to 5 million by the end of this year and has been touted as the must have Christmas present.Built in response to the super successful Nintendo Wii the Kinect has some serious piece of technology in it. It has a RGB camera for facial recognition and video capturing, an infrared projector paired with a monochrome CMOS camera for depth sensing, four microphones for voice recognition and a motor in the base for rotation. All this hardware coupled with some sophisticated software for a lifelike gaming experience.At a price of $150 the pricing model is typical of Game hardware where the hardware is often sold at a low price and profits are made through software titles.

It’s not just the gaming enthusiasts who have been excited by all this technology. The hacker community put out a $3000 challenge for open source drivers and the community responded within three days. While initially Microsoft made some threatening noises they quickly turned around and welcomed this move saying it was designed to be open that’s how they had planned it all along!

With Open source drivers freely available we suddenly have a whole lot of uses coming up with the Kinect. Here are some interesting things that people have been doing with it.

  • Are you a Star War’s fan and always fancied yourself with a light saber? Well take a look at this.
  • Your home made puppet shows are never going to be the same again after you see this one. Hope somebody quickly integrates this with PowerPoint. No more boring presentations!
  • Evoluce, a Microsoft partner demonstratescontrolling a Windows 7 desktop hooked up to a Kinect.
  • An while the holographs in Star Wars are much better than this early attempt I guess you combine 2 or more Kinects to get a true 3D recreation.

We could be moving into serious products and applications involving Kinect very quickly. I expect more Kinect’s will be sold standalone rather than with the Xbox’s. Either way it would be a big win for Microsoft. It makes the PC and Windows an attractive platform forprogrammers again. In an era where IPad’s and smartphones are all the rage the PC can do with a little bit of attention. While the Open source community will organize itself quickly, I would really want Microsoft to create a developer ecosystem around this with official API’s and support.

In India, Microsoft I believe was taking pre orders but couldn’t find a link. There are mentions of it being available sometime in December for Rs. 9,999. I guess we will have to fall back on the grey market to source one. Have any of you managed to get your hands on a Kinect? Any sources in Bangalore? I want my new Toy; no I mean my new input device that can be manipulated using a natural user interface, using gestures, spoken commands, or presented objects and images. And if anybody wants to give me a Christmas present emailme and I will tell you where to ship it to.

Ravishankar V is in the process of creating a 2.0 version of himself. Starting his career in 1993 he has worked on possibly all technology waves that the IT industry keeps showering on the world. In a rare moment of clarity this year he decided to fire himself from his job and promote himself to CEO. He is now in the process of setting up a startup that will be focussed on providing services and building products in the mobile and cloud computing space.

You can follow him on Twitter @RaviVeeraghanta

or at linked in http://in.linkedin.com/pub/ravishankar-veeraghanta/25/308/794

And yes he still has an email address: ravi.veeraghanta@gmail.com

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