Kinect, a door on virtual reality

The system offered by Microsoft is an interface to virtual worlds, more powerful and simpler than all other current systems. It was formerly named Natal.
It can recognize six people including two active players at the same time, they did not need to wear a device, which surpasses all other existing systems.

He currently works on XBox 360 with a expansion box and should in future be integrated into Windows.


Kinect in action, video

How to use it

The sensor has a viewing angle of 57° horizontally and 43° vertically which added to the rotation capacity of the support tilt, horizontally and vertically. We should therefore be placed close enough to the group.

The user must be placed at least 1.8 meters away and more if there are several players.

How Kinect works

The console comes with a sensor and a camera to be placed near the screen, and with a microphone, a sensor of depth. This suffices to distinguish all the motions. The arm of the character mimics that of the player and his body all his movements, and they interact with virtual objects and decor.

The box of Kinect as described by the documentation, includes the following components:

This is compledted by a software using 200 megabytes of disk space.

The software incorporates facial recognition, allowing multiple players to be recognized and associated with the same characters in the virtual world. We must save our face to be recognized automatically when we appear in front of the box.

The microphone receives a signal which is processed by the software to locate its source and eliminate background noise.

The depth infrared sensor can operate in the dark.

Kinect actually uses a library of builtin movements, which is supplied to software vendors to adapt their products to the console. Unknown movement from the player would not be recognized.

The user is seen as a skeleton with a set of points at the ends and joints, thereby recognizing its movements, which are then associated with gestures in the library.

Hackers and Kinect

Microsoft had initially protested against hackers initiative to create open source drivers for the box, then decided to let it go.
Thus the Free60 project to develop software for Linux running on Xbox 360.

Hacking is precisely to use the USB port to retrieve the signal from the 3D sensor and redirect it to a computer. Microsoft said there see no problem.

Applications

Besides the game console, it finds new application to the device by coupling it with specialized software.

Kinect for PC

Aside from hacking the device for use on a PC, can we expect to see equivalent instrument specifically dedicated to PC?
Kinect was not invented by Microsoft, but by the company PrimeSense which dismissed its technology to the firm. PrimeSense is currently working with Asus to WAVI Xtion which will control the computer through gestures.
Should be available in February.

For its part, Microsoft has released on June 17, 2011 a development kit for Windows. This opens the way for applications and games controlled by gestures on desktop computers.
It may be downloaded for free.

More information

See also