Microsoft Kinect has been a gaming hit since its release last year – getting even the littlest players moving to the beat.
But now the company is promoting new uses for the device, calling it the Kinect Effect.
For example, a British hospital is using Kinect for rehabilitation for stroke patients. It’s also being used to work with autistic children to improve language development and social skills.
“This all came, I think, because of grassroots development. People got into hacking the Kinect early last year and you started hearing these stories about people figuring out how to use this to put onto a robot. And, smartly, Microsoft responded by welcoming that and encouraging more development.”
That development includes the creation of a Kinect-enabled application to help hospitals create safer operating rooms, allowing surgeons to use gestures and voice to review patient charts without the need to break the sterile field.
Next up, a software development kit just for businesses: Kinect for Windows.
“The SDK that Microsoft is opening next year, in 2012, is commercial use. So a lot of things you are hearing about now are advertising. Toyota, Razorfish and others, I think, are looking at this as sort of intelligent, Minority Report-style terminals that will allow you to swipe through things, find out more, talk to it… because it also has a pretty advanced audio array of microphones so you could communicate like you can see now on the iPhone on Siri. Maybe voice activation could be something that could be used for.”
(Minority Report refers to the futuristic Tom Cruise movie of 2002.)
And with the future now closer to reality, Microsoft says they already have 200 applicants for the pilot program.
Bottom line: As Microsoft celebrates the one year anniversary of its Kinect motion sensor gaming product, the company is showcasing the Kinect Effect, highlighting uses beyond gaming.