Silicon Valley News

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kinect not just for games



The gesture recognition technology behind the popular Kinect is finding widespread applications outside the world of gaming. A new pilot program sponsored by Microsoft's Live@Edu is improving the educational experience of primary school children, beginning with a South African school in the rural district of Vryheid, KwaZula-Natal. Teachers from the Lakeside Park Primary in Vryheid have been trained and equipped with Xbox 360s and Kinects, which have become popular learning tools.

Launched on Nov. 4, 2010, the Kinect for Xbox 360 is the fastest-selling electronic device in history, according to Guinness World Records. Initial sales of the Kinect are  even better than the iPhone and iPad. "No other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span," said Gaz Deaves, gaming editor for Guinness.

Kinect hacking has quickly become rampant because it provides an inexpensive, convenient way to utilize motion control.

Software developer Mike Bourgeous has rigged a Kinect to control the lighting in his home.



Surgeons at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, Canada have hooked up a Kinect to their imaging computer to give them access to MRI and CT scans with the wave of a hand. Doctors at Wake Forest University of Medicine also use the Kinect to access medical images.



Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (NAVI) use a Kinect camera and other devices to signal instructions for avoiding obstacles.