Kinect has definitely been one of Microsoft’s great inventions in recent history. While initially not being overly popular with the X-Box fanbase, no one can doubt that it’s extremely powerful, to be able to control so much on a screen, using nothing but your own hand gestures. Well, Microsoft today, just showed us what’s on deck for the Kinect, and it’s looking pretty sweet. Apparently, the guys over at Cambridge (UK), have been working on Kinect for Windows, a device that you can use simply right from your PC.
The new Kinect is very intuitive, and will allow users to move things around the screen, as well as zoom in on maps using only their hands. The device can recognize when your hands are open, and when they’re closed, making it extremely user-friendly. If you want to zoom in on something, all you have to do is close both your hands where the cursors are, (which will be somewhere in the middle of the screen) and then, pull both hands outwards, and the device will intuitively zoom you right in to the center of the two points on your screen. Nifty.
On the video, one of the guys at Microsoft shows a whole map of Europe on his computer, and then is able to easily zoom in to Cambridge, UK, with a few easy hand motions. He also shows playing a video-game designed for the Windows Kinect wherein closing one’s hands will make your 2D jetpack character move up to snag some coins, and opening your hands will drop him down. Because of the former relationship to the X-Box, we can expect that there will be many games made for the PC that will use this cool new Kinect technology (further devaluing the need for separate gaming consoles).
Sadly, none of us really know when Kinect will be launched, but given how polished it looked in the demonstration, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not something in the distant future, and very possibly something that will be released to the public this year.
Of course, as I talked about in my recent article on the Leap Motion, this field is getting pretty competitive, and the Leap Motion, as it stands now, still seems like the superior device, but then again, specific details on this new and improved Kinect haven’t been released yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see. The Leap Motion obviously has a major advantage for the Apple users, since it’s being released to both Windows, and OSX, whereas Kinect is only being released to Windows. But, in the end, Kinect may still win that war, considering that there are more Windows users than OSX users, and the Kinect has slowly become popular with X-Box.