July 7, 2014
Kinect For Windows v2 Put Through Its Paces
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Last month Microsoft "unplugged" the Kinect motion/voice controller from its Xbox One video game console, which allowed the gaming system's price to be lowered, while also giving the console a boost in game performance. However, the Kinect is still available as an add-on that is "sold separately" as an accessory for the Xbox One and the PC, and on Monday the Redmond, Wash.-software giant announced that the Kinect 2.0 would also be available for Windows PCs later this month.
The Kinect for Windows v2 Sensor, which can be used with interactive applications to recognize natural movements, gestures and voice commands will be available beginning July 15. While consumers can buy one of the units, Microsoft is actually selling it as a way for developers to create new applications as well.
Last week Microsoft's Kinect for Windows team reported that it had traveled to New York City for a "hackathon" that was held in partnership with NUI Central – the Natural User Interface Community. This event, which had occurred over 27-hours from June 21-22 focused on creating innovative applications and experiences utilizing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and SDK (software development kit) 2.0.
In a post for the Kinect for Windows Product blog Ben Lower, Kinect for Windows developer community manager noted that, "The event drew more than 100 participants, from as far away as the Czech Republic and Dubai. You will find a summary of the teams and projects below; we were blown away by what we saw. We were also impressed by the tremendous interest in the experimental near-field firmware that we brought. This firmware turns the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor into a near-field device that can be used at close range (from 10cm to 1m)."
While the Kinect provides a gaming and entertainment interface with the Xbox One, the participants in the hackathon found more practical uses for the motion control sensor.
The winning team at the New York event was Lightspeed, which created an application dubbed K4B, which utilized a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor to scan large ceiling spaces. This provided a way to map HVAC and electrical details so that renovators can get accurate, detailed as-built measurements.
The second place team, adabiits, created an application called Thing T, which included a robotic hand that waves when someone walks by and can be controlled by using finger tracking; while the third place team, Body Labs, used their ScanAdHoc application with combined sensors wirelessly connected via Websockets to create accurate 3D body scans to be used for fitting of clothing.
Other presented projects including an augmented travel app, a virtual doctor that could monitor heart rate in real time and an obstacle avoidance robot.
The Kinect for Windows engineering team will next had to Dallas, Texas on July 18-19 to take part at event hosted by Computer Visionaries; and then on July 26-27 will host an event at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where participants will have access to a 4-foot by 4-foot by 4-foot display dubbed The Cube, which will be available for experiments using the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor.
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