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Kinect For PCs Early Next Year, Microsoft Eyeing Business Apps

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the flail-around-to-send-your-tps-report dept.

Input Devices 55

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has announced that its Kinect motion-control system will be available for PCs in early 2012, and that they're planning to take it into the business world as well. 'Microsoft plans to launch a commercial program for the peripheral early next year, giving businesses the tools to develop customized applications for their companies and industries. The pilot program already includes such familiar names as Toyota, book publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and design firm Razorfish. All totaled, over 200 "marquis brand" companies in 25 countries have signed up for the program... And while the majority of those companies have opted to keep their names hidden for now for competitive reasons, Microsoft is working with them to get the applications up and running, so they can debut as soon as possible. Just don't expect the Redmond-based company to do any first party apps for this program.'"

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Kinect + Siri + Jetpacks = The Future (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901110)

Sometimes I really do feel like I'm living in the future :)

Now just someone hurry up with the personal jetpack and flying car...

Re:Kinect + Siri + Jetpacks = The Future (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901550)

About 14 years ago I had a Gyro Mouse [gyration.com] and really loved it. Seems to me the only difference between it and Kinect is how you interpret back what the mouse is telling you. Nice mouse, particularly as I could use my thumb for clicks, which it does far better than the forefinger.

Re:Kinect + Siri + Jetpacks = The Future (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#37904124)

I don't see ANY similarities between the Gyro Mouse and the Kinect. None at all. Care to explain how there are any similarities? You can identify one difference, but I don't think you're looking hard enough.

KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901122)

Ugh. Double-ugh. More useless desktop eye-candy you can't turn off. More network load for push apps we didn't want 10 years ago. More blink-on-mouseover crap in business apps. And now you have to wave your arms like Neo in the Matrix in order to alt-tab between apps... Win 8's Metro IF+ Kinect for PC....

The MSFT Clown School of Interface Design (tm) is coming like a tidal wave.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901180)

Yeah, because obviously this will be only way to control Win8 and business apps! There's just no other use for a technology like this!

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901248)

You mean like motion based email? [google.com] . Can't wait for someone to send me an offensive email so can reply by giving them the bird. ;)

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (2)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901536)

Lol I love it...I assume that was an April fool? (Seriously with interaction designers and gestures....its hard to tell!)

Anyway's its still a work in process since I haven't written the full interaction for it but I've been working on a mobile gesture email interface for my os6sense project. about 6:30mins in [blogspot.com] - I know, its pathetic, just simple scrolling up and down for emails yet but if you look at the air-writing and other pinch based interactions earlier on in the video you can see that its possible to put together a full gestural input system for email.

And shameless plug for myself - looking for peeps to take part in a gesture study...sadly I removed the cut gesture since my pilot study found it too offensive! *grin*
Gesture Survey [questionpro.com]

Display Survey [questionpro.com]

Sorry I wouldn't normally tout so shamelessly but the opportunity is just too great :)

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

SadButTrue (848439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37902058)

Haven't seen this in, for what feels like, forever. Oddly, I think it was funnier this time, especially the curtsy for the valediction.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 2 years ago | (#37902398)

haha, you know Ballmer saw this and urgently memo'd his staff "WE MUST CLONE THIS ASAP SO I CAN FUCKING KILL GOOGLE!!!@?!"

And now here comes Bingmail Motion Kinect 8 Business Edition Professional.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901226)

Ugh. Double-ugh. More useless desktop eye-candy you can't turn off. More network load for push apps we didn't want 10 years ago. More blink-on-mouseover crap in business apps. And now you have to wave your arms like Neo in the Matrix in order to alt-tab between apps... Win 8's Metro IF+ Kinect for PC....

The MSFT Clown School of Interface Design (tm) is coming like a tidal wave.

It might not be all bad. Imagine having a Millennium Falcon like gun turret and going Pew! Pew! Pew! at your boss when she pops up on the screen.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901268)

And now you have to wave your arms like Neo in the Matrix in order to alt-tab between apps...

"For years computers had been operated by means of pressing buttons and scrolling wheels; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive – you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but it meant you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep using the same program."

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901278)

I hope for customizable gestures. Just maybe you can flip-off your PC to close metro.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901590)

I can see several interesting computer rage stories coming to you in the very near future.... :)

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901282)

Quick, it's a Microsoft product! Arm the ridicule cannons! Forget fact and reason, defend the Open Source Empire!

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901512)

Hear hear! Back in my day we had to use a bank of toggle switches to set the mouse coordinates, and that's the way we liked it.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901586)

I think you really should watch the video in the first link. It's fairly informative on what kinds of uses MS predicts. None of them are what you are listing.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37903144)

The doctor looking at X-Rays while sterile was a perfect example of "Why didn't someone think of this sooner?"

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37904768)

Speak for yourself...the possibilities of Kinect combined with Windows 8 have me drooling at the teeth. There are more possible amazing uses for these technologies than i could ever think of....for people with disabilities, interactive learning tools, drastic easing of communications....you don't HAVE to do any of those things, as a keyboard will still do what a keyboard has always done. For the rest of us who don't need hydraulic assistance moving our limbs, this is an exciting step forward from an archaic method of interacting with computers that is long overdue for an update.

Re:KinectPC + Win8Metro = interface clown school (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906530)

why would you use the Kinect to alt-tab there *is* a keyboard over there

Now Just Waiting for the Precogs (1)

esten (1024885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901270)

(Finally a test coming for my tin foil hat)

Taking a nap at work just got harder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901272)

If Kinect gets wide spread adoption in the work place I see it being used as a beat stick to track how much time you spend at your desk and what posture you maintain in your chair.

The sad thing is that the drones will comply.

Re:Taking a nap at work just got harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908574)

Taking a nap, spanking the monkey, doing the crossword... it's the ultimate nanny cam!

Re:Taking a nap at work just got harder (1)

RandomAvatar (2487198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37927776)

Cure to nanny-cam mode: Items required, tape, pants. Instructions: Place tape over sensor. Remove pants.

For once microsoft doesn't kill the goose (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901298)

I like how an entire market for advanced motion control has sprung up around what was originally a homebrew reverse engineering effort. That said, the tech inside the kinect is amazing and the ability to get it all in to a sub100 dollar mass market device is impressive.

Re:For once microsoft doesn't kill the goose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37901506)

Microsoft still fought against that at the beginning.

Re:For once microsoft doesn't kill the goose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902352)

No, they didn't.They left the kinect completely unencrypted. They encouraged the hackers. The only "fighting" they did was some flack said they didn't want the Kinect hacked, because they thought they were being asked about the device itself being modified for cheating on Xbox live. Otherwise, prove me wrong. Show me some instance where they impeded anything.

Re:For once microsoft doesn't kill the goose (2)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901622)

the ability to get it all in to a sub100 dollar mass market device is impressive.

Indeed especially when you consider the you can expect to pay an order of magnitude more for similar devices but with slightly better performance along different axis (e.g. FoV, depth, speed). One of the best pieces of hardware have launched and I cant wait for something a little more discreet so that I can co-opt it into a wearable design *grin*

Re:For once microsoft doesn't kill the goose (0)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37902840)

That said, the tech inside the kinect is amazing and the ability to get it all in to a sub100 dollar mass market device is impressive.
Sub 100$? From what I hear, "you are the controller." I would assume that means THEY pay YOU.

Cool (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901808)

So when will we see a kernel driver merged so we can start using it?

They need a new lense to make this work. (2)

dharma21 (537631) | more than 2 years ago | (#37901892)

The current one is not wide enough for desktop use. I don't want to have the Kinect 10 feet away from me. It's got to be 3 feet from me.

Re:They need a new lense to make this work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908384)

You're in luck. That's already available with a $30 add-on...

http://www.nyko.com/products/product-detail/?name=Zoom

Legal status of using the Kinect for a PC? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902082)

Would a software vendor be exposed to legal trouble if it developed and SOLD software capable of using the Microsoft Kinect SDK to acquire data from a Kinect device? Assume the product did not ship with the Microsoft Kinect SDK, and that the user had to download and install that SDK on their own. Also, assume the commercial software product only dynamically loaded the DLL necessary for calling Kinect-related functions, and could operate (without the Kinect feature) in the absence of that DLL.

If there were a chance of legal trouble, what type of law would be its basis? DMCA "reverse engineering" prohibition? Copyright infringement? Patent infringement? Encouraging the user to violate their EULA?

Would the situation change if an open-source library for accessing the Kinect (via USB protocol) were used instead of the Microsoft Kinect SDK? Or is it understood that any open-source library is necessarily a DMCA "reverse engineering" violation?

It's OK if you're not a lawyer. I'm interested in the opinions of non-lawyers, too, because it reflects the opinions of people affected by such laws.

Re:Legal status of using the Kinect for a PC? (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 2 years ago | (#37904972)

What type of data are we talking about? If we are talking about a user(s) data then, no I don't see that there should be any liability; given that the purchaser should know that the device is capturing bio-metrical data. However, if your talking about data of a particular location - like the layout and / or inventory of a room (that is visible), then maybe a legal issue could arise.

Another possibility I can see for potential legal liability (probably the owner however) is if one was to set these up in there house and invite people over without disclosing that their bio-metrical data was being recorded or something to that fact. Again, this is something that probably will have been hashed out to remove liability from the software developer, but in our increasingly litigious state (I'm using the USA as an example since I live there) one should tread cautiously.

Re:Legal status of using the Kinect for a PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37905898)

Given that the Kinect EULA allows Microsoft to monitor the user's system at any time.They can view the camera at any time. Kinnect should be classified as INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE.

Then again, so did the XP SP2 EULA. By accepting the XP SP2 EULA, you allowed Microsoft to read, modify, and delete any information on your PC. So, if you are a doctor, Microsoft can change a patient's medical records.

I'm amazed that anyone who allows Microsoft software on internet connected PCs that are supposed to hold "confidential" information. When do people get arrested for this? Where are the DHS raids for industrial espionage?

Kinect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902166)

And how many businesses are going to allow hyperactvie internet connected webcams on every desktop?

Business integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37902414)

Microsoft is probably mainly looking to integrate Kinect functions into power point, browsers, multimedia players, and collaboration software for use in presentations and meetings. Frankly, I think it will be a fantastic tool for those functions as well. I don't think they're looking for integration for desktop use. A mouse and keyboard will always work faster. Besides, in a couple years any monitor you buy will be touch screen enabled, so alternative input methods will be a moot point.

Re:Business integration (2)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37902862)

Besides, in a couple years any monitor you buy will be touch screen enabled, so alternative input methods will be a moot point.
Touch screen monitors are horribly inefficient for a workstation. They work pretty good in an environment where the computer is a secondary device to doing the job, like on a production line, or a GPS in a car, but a keyboard and mouse are an order of magnitude quicker.

Re:Business integration (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#37902932)

I struggle to see how you would use it in anything though, not that i should know or anything. I'm still interested, mainly to see what other people can come up with, I would probably need a demonstration of what they might plan on doing with the tech rather than just announce that it's coming.

How long before (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37904014)

we have kinect porn on the pc?

What? Freenect and OpenCV exist... New "driver"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37904512)

I read this as "New Windows Only Driver alternative to the cross platform OpenCV and Freenect pair" -- Psh. Not news. Kinect is used more on my "PCs" (machines running XP & G'Linux) than it ever has been on my XBox 360.

I use it to create mo-cap for my cross-platform game, I use the Kinect for video conferencing, I already use my Kinect for quick gesture based, Application agnostic GUI navigation -- not a replacement for mouse and keyboard, an enhancement, a quick wave to switch workspaces, get up and leave to lock screen...

I guess you want me to give all that CrossPlatform goodness up and use a MS's only solution?

Damn Straight "Oh, I must be new here."

The Real Opportunities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37904736)

Microsoft could have something.

Imagine you made a windows manager and knew "passive" information about the user. Are they looking at their desk or across the room? Are they at the keyboard or over on the couch? Might you want to write a neat algorithm that changed how the user interacted with it? Minute hand gestures that only activated when the user was looking directly at the display, perhaps? As funny as the Google mail stuff was, there would be a few I would accept even not looking at the display. Like a "stop" hand pointed at the display bringing the computer in and out of sleep. Hell, it knows where you are, so it can even change the font size to fit regular spreadsheet work to being on the other side of the room.

I'm no technologist (or maybe I am) but what the hell happened to slashdot where we can't imagine cool things any more?

Surface (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905932)

I guess this means we can officially say goodbye to Microsoft Surface. Kinect is comparatively inexpensive and can now be used on a customizable platform.

No one uses it on the xbox (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37905976)

As far as I'm concerned it's bombed on the xbox. I think this just proves it as they're looking to make money off of kinect through other systems and seeing how it would appear a big chunk of kinect purchasers are doing things with it on a PC they probably just figured they might as well get in on that.

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906558)

Kinect has bombed on the xbox? Have you stopped taking your meds again? The fact that others have been able to create new implementations using Kinect is a boon for MS. If MS can collect licensing fees for every Android based phone they are certainly more than capable of performing the same trick with those adopting technology derived from Kinect. The more people building apps with MS components the better it is for MS. MS created the totally crappy programming language known as VB which allowed the non-purist everyman to develop applications for the Windows ecosystem. Just compare the complexity of C++ against VB at the time. The end result was more applications, both personal and business, dependent on the MS OS platform. Even though VB was a nightmare for experienced developers it was probably the most successful piece of software MS has ever released. This effect is still continuing today with .NET. MS has a lot of short comings but leveraging developer tools to increase the reliance on the MS platform is not one of them.

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37910368)

And notice how most everything you go on about has nothing to do with gaming. MS certainly sold a lot of Kinects. I'd personally like to know how many are actually being used on an xbox.

From what I know kinect sports sold 3 million units. They've sold 10 million Kinects. Considering of the 60 Kinect games Kinect Sports is perhaps the best one by far implies to me most of those people buying kinects don't want to use it for gaming. Not that I don't blame them but that makes it a failure for the Xbox, imo, even if MS is selling loads of them. Why else distract potential game developers away from making games from something that is supposed to be a key part of their gaming system?

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37913712)

The article was about new desktop application implementations not gaming. Gaming was just the first beneficiary of this type of technology. "it is a failure for the Xbox, imo, even if MS is selling loads of them". How do you reconcile this idiotic assertion? Do you consider success based only on what you personally like? The xbox is one of Microsoft's best product outside of operating systems and the more people who use it just gives MS another revenue stream like they managed to obtain with the use of Android on smart phones. I still have no idea what patent MS is using to force others to pay licensing fees but they are probably capable of doing the same thing with their Kinect tech.

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37927194)

The kinect hardware can be profitable while it being a failure for the actual console. It's selection of 60 games is largely crap. If companies continue to not invest in developing good software for it then what is the point of a kinect for the xbox? I think MS is concerned about that and wants to get a piece of the action for people using it elsewhere. So that is how I assert it's a failure for the xbox. It's so far a dumping ground for poor games and I think it will quietly fade away on the 360. I don't blame MS for preparing for that and in fact it's smart. A lot of people like using kinects but for other things so it's wise to invest in that and keep the product alive and profitable.

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37927542)

"60 games is largely crap" This is a very subjective opinion. There is a great difference between the hardcore gaming community and the general public when it comes to rating games. As long as they manufacturer and support the xbox there will be plenty of games developed for the platform. MS introduced Kinect to the market while others had to catch up. MS's liberal stance on others using Kinect in their own products will ensure deep penetration into the market. It remains to be seen if MS is planning on using the patented technology used in Kinect to extract licensing fees from others once the market gets saturated. I don't know any details about Kinect related patents but I also have no details on the patents they are leveraging to take advantage in the Android market. The fact that companies are paying the licensing fee lends some credibility to the patents MS is invoking.

Re:No one uses it on the xbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37915950)

No way, the dance game is the best one by far. But it's true that Kinect games pretty much suck and they will probably never get any better.

Anyway, of course there aren't millions of hobbyists playing around with the Kinect on their computers. I would be very, very surprised if that comes to more than 1% of Kinect purchases.

People using it to control the UI look funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37906098)

I work for one of the companies which prefer to be unnamed. I coded an app that uses Kinect for some ui control, and while it perhaps looks cool for a geek, a person using this to actually control something, waving hands decisively, looks rather entertaining. Our CIO liked it though.

The problem is the standard SDK is not precise enough at gesture recognition, and there is simply too much noise for subtle gestures to be supportable. Also, while you can code it yourself, it does not see your fingers which means you really have to wave your entire hands. Plus, it does not work at all if you are below, say, 1.5m from the device. The actual uses for this, except controlling interactive billboards, are limited.

Administration through intimidation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37906144)

Great. Now my windows box will know I'm actually pissed at it when I flip it off and throw up my arms in disgust.
Hopefully it works through BSOD's.

At last (1)

isobvious (1816126) | more than 2 years ago | (#37906176)

I can do my powerpoint presentations in the form of interpretive dance!

Future interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37907846)

Wow. Complaints? Did any of you guys see Minority Report? I wasn't keen on the film itself, but the computer interface was cool.

This is typical MS "I missed the boat because " (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909094)

This is typical MS how I missed the boat because they didn't know It owned one mentality
the first time I saw a Kinect I thought wow that would work in power point for presentations and a lot of other things on a PC if it were available, nice to see MS has once again missed the point of utility on a PC until everyone else showed them.

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