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Kinected Browser Lets You Flick Through Websites

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the whoa-there-cowboy dept.

Input Devices 46

mikejuk writes "The Kinect is well supported by a good and evolving SDK on the desktop, but until now using it in a browser wasn't easy. Now Microsoft Research has a free JavaScript API, Kinected Browser, that lets you integrate the Kinect with HTML. The bad news is that it only works on Windows 7 and 8 and in desktop mode only. In addition the browser has to be IE9 or IE 10. The good news is that more programmers know how to do HTML5 graphics than know how to work with DirectX or .NET. As a result this could lead to another burst of innovative Kinect applications."

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46 comments

To limited an Audience (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991423)

Most programmers who know css and javascript also avoid IE like the plague. Even if it has the Native HTML5.

Re:To limited an Audience (4, Interesting)

sideslash (1865434) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991545)

That is changing, though, and Microsoft is slowly getting their reputation as a credible browser vendor back. Also, many people who develop for the Windows 8 RT environment will choose the new option to write a native app in HTML+javascript, which basically means living in the IE rendering engine.

Re:To limited an Audience (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991583)

It's not changing for me. And I think "Many people who develop for Windows 8" is rather wishful thinking. If you're going to write an HTML/Javascript app, why not make it entirely cross platform?

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991675)

If a UI renders in a multiple browsers, the app doesnt exactly qualify as cross platform. You still need underpinning to the host OS maybe low touch..

Re:To limited an Audience (1)

sideslash (1865434) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991713)

You mean avoid the App Stores and just create a conventional web application? Sure, if that's what floats your boat. It all depends on what kind of end user experience you are aiming for. I like native apps myself. I do a lot of iOS App Store and Windows Phone stuff, and have plans to expand into the Windows 8 Store. There are ways to embed HTML5 based UIs in native cross platform apps, but I've never been too impressed by any of them. For ultimate polish and user experience, I think it's best to use each platform's native UI toolkit (just my $0.02).

Re:To limited an Audience (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991867)

Having it be a pure web app is one possibility yes, but it's possible to write HTML5 apps for iOS and Android. I'm not saying that it will necessarily be better than developing a native app for each platform, but it does cut down on development effort for simpler apps. Facebook obviously decided recently that they're better off doing native apps (though when you have the resources they do, I'm not sure why they went HTML5 in the first place).

Re:To limited an Audience (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991899)

Wasn't this the kind of crap MS tried to pull with IE6?

I'm sure their intention was to allow enterprises to develop applications for and using IE6, but it ended honorably for everyone and was the reason IE6 ended up hanging on for so long past it's expiry.

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41992411)

HTML5/Javascript on Windows 8 can access the WinRT API, which exposes just about everything inside the OS.

It's more akin to phonegap than it is pure web app development.

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

bigredradio (631970) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993207)

slowly getting their reputation as a credible browser vendor back

When was it ever credible?

It was most popular due to a lack of choices. Now that there are choices, I don't see many giving Microsoft a "second chance" - especially Web developers who have been burned for years by IE incompatibility with standards.

Re:To limited an Audience (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993601)

When was it ever credible?

Perhaps you are a bit young to remember but in the early days of the browser Internet Explorer was like a breath of fresh air compared to the main opposition, Netscape Navigator. Netscape was a bloated mess that was getting worse with each new version. For every daft extension of the HTML language in IE (eg. MARQUEE), Netscape had its own (eg. Layers).

In those days, IE was indeed a credible browser. Where they really stuffed up was when they introduced ActiveX, and made it enabled by default (especially to download controls from untrusted sources). If I recall, they left it in that unsafe configuration for about three years before they actually put some thought into security.

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41993613)

It was more popular because it was less bloated and more stable than anything Netscape, Mosaic, Opera, or the myriad of other small browser developers could put out at that time. Yes, there were choices at the time.

People want to bag on IE, and it deserves it, but let's be fair-- IE was a pretty decent browser at one point, and it looks like it might get there again, though far too late for most of us to trust it.

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992805)

Yeah, ignoring 20% of your customer base is always good business practice. What a great idea to ignore hundreds of millions of users solely because of their choice of browser. That extra 15 minutes it takes to make a website work with IE really will save you in the long run. Any programmer that can't make a website work on IE isn't worth their salt.

Re:To limited an Audience (4, Informative)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993307)

Back up there Tex. You have to specify the complexity of your application and what version of IE you're supporting before you claim it only takes an extra 15 minutes of work. I work on a large site and up until two months ago I was required to support IE 6, 7, 8 and 9. I found out two months ago as of February 2012 we're no longer supporting IE 6 and as of February 2013 we won't support IE 7, IE 8 support is slated to be phased out starting in the fall of 2013.

Web apps, epically those that require javascript, can be very complex and supporting IE 6, 7 is not trivial for larger applications. IE 8 is not so bad, but still requires effort. IE 9 is better, I'm hoping IE 10 will get it right and I won't be required to code for everything, then re-code for IE. Although I'll still have to make modifications for IE 8 and 9

I can develop an application in Firefox and with no additional effort it'll work in Opera, Chrome and Safari, but the same application without modification will not work in IE 6 or 7, sometimes not in IE 8 and on more rare occasions not in IE 9. No web developer will agree supporting IE only takes an extra 15 minutes, unless they only support IE and even then there can still significant effort involved in porting to the other versions of IE. I've had clients tell me not to worry about IE once I told them what effort would be involved in porting a large application. Of course we try to support as many users as we can, but sometimes the amount of effort to grab that extra 20% just isn't worth spending double or triple the effort in development and testing.

Feel free to tell me to get off your lawn.

Re:To limited an Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41994259)

That extra 15 minutes it takes to make a website work with IE really will save you in the long run.

Ah yes. The old "All You Have To Do Is..."

You know what works even better? A mouse. (2)

imbusy (1002705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991521)

I can flick through websites using the scroll wheel with minimal effort. I don't feel like waving my hands to do common tasks.

Re:You know what works even better? A mouse. (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991789)

And mouse gesturing has been a feature of, at least, the Opera browser some time.

Re:You know what works even better? A mouse. (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992363)

Add-ons for it existed in firefox for ages as well, mostly mimicking opera functionality and adding stuff on top of it.

It's not that popular of a feature though, mostly because mouse with point and click is just that good of a controller scheme. It allows minimal motion to control wide variety of input.

Re:You know what works even better? A mouse. (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993777)

I can flick through websites using the scroll wheel with minimal effort.

If you look through the naysayer messages here, they all say the same thing: "I don't need it, therefore it shouldn't exist."

This is not meant to replace the mouse, but can be used where a mouse is the inferior interface. My aunt finds it difficult and painful to use a mouse these days due to here worsening arthritis. She would gladly try any new interface that means she doesn't have to grip a mouse.

Surgeons are trying out the Kinect to use computers during operations. A presenter could control a projected computer interface when they are not standing in front of a lectern to be able to use a mouse. I would love to be able to control a tablet PC sitting on the window sill at my kitchen sink. Currently I have a book holder that enables me to read books while washing the dishes, but it becomes a pain when I want to turn the page. My wife sits her laptop on the kitchen bench when she is cooking so she can look up recipe websites and watch videos. I am sure there are some kiosk applications that could benefit from not having to use touch screens.

In all these cases, it would be quite useful to be able to control the interface without having to touch anything.

Re:You know what works even better? A mouse. (1)

donaldm (919619) | about a year and a half ago | (#42000603)

I can flick through websites using the scroll wheel with minimal effort. I don't feel like waving my hands to do common tasks.

Oh but you can talk as well. I suppose this would work at home but in the Office? I think it won't be long before signs saying "shush!" are common otherwise few people could get any work done. Now a telepathic interface would be more useful except for the migrains :)

But .... HOW WILL IT KNOW!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991677)

How is the browser going to know when I need to switch hands, and use my other one for .... navigating.

Re:But .... HOW WILL IT KNOW!! (1)

HtR (240250) | about a year and a half ago | (#41996399)

Well, I believe the Kinect has a microphone. Perhaps it will KNOW by looking for certain ... vocalizations.

Even better (1)

trodofor (1002830) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991709)

And once again, porn gets even better.

Re:Even better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991969)

Funny you should say that, considering the way I misread "flick" as another word. >.>

How so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41992055)

Won't it be annoying when it just goes and scrolls up-down-up-down-up-down-...

good news (0)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991801)

The bad news is that you are going to die, no matter what. The good news is that if you survive (no chance) you can have as much cake as you want!

You people are dumb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41991805)

It works via a plugin, the API is pretty basic.

Any enterprising firefox or chrome dev could create their own plugin in an afternoon if they want the same.

Sorry, what I mean to say is, BLARGHABLOO I AM A FAT LINUX FUCK AND MICROSOFT IS GOING DOWN! I hate Windows ARRGG

ARRA BLAG A BLARGH A BLOO

(thats how fat people talk)

No actual useful gestures shown (1)

davewoods (2450314) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991879)

The video in TFA looked like control was incredibly arduous, the only thing I would be interested in would be scrolling or zooming. But, considering I would like to be able to type at the same time (In order to search for words, for example) it would be more impractical than a keyboard/mouse combo.

Better Mousetrap (2)

Travco (1872216) | about a year and a half ago | (#41991997)

A company called Zigfu (Zigfu.com) with five employees, has a plugin that lets Any browser work with the Kinect (through Javascript). I wonder why Monstersoft can't accomplish the same level of performance.

Re:Better Mousetrap (3, Interesting)

fpgaprogrammer (1086859) | about a year and a half ago | (#41994521)

I'm the founder of Zigfu. We support both Kinect SDK and OpenNI with our browser plugin so we can run on both PC and Mac. Zigfu also runs in IE, Chrome, Firefox and Safari because we built our plugin both as an ActiveX and NPAPI plugin. Our QA matrix is nasty.

Voice Features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41992001)

When is someone going to make an app that lets me ask it questions and have it read back Wikipedia info? like "kinect tell me about George Washington?" or "Kinect who won The game between the Packers and Bears?" and have it pull the game review from esp or nfl.com.

I just want to be able to ask it stuff point it to the sites whose content I like and have it read it.

I'm Confused By Kinect Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41992107)

I'm confused by Kinect stuff like this. Don't get me wrong, I understand the technology perfectly. What I don't understand is why anyone thinks that people want to trade control of a TV or computer by a simple twitch of a single finger for dancing around and wild gesticulations.

Using a mouse on my browser, I can click through websites with only a slight press of my index finger. I don't need to swipe my hand or swing my arm or exert anything but my index finger. Even moving the cursor all the way across the screen requires no more than a two inch shift of my hand.

Using a television remote control, I can navigate from one channel to the next and even jump directly to the channel of choice by barely moving only my thumb. I don't need to wave my arms shake my head or dance around the room.

Why does ANYONE think that Kinect control of these devices is anything but a massive step backward?

Re:I'm Confused By Kinect Stuff (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992757)

What I don't understand is why anyone thinks that people want to trade control of a TV or computer by a simple twitch of a single finger for dancing around and wild gesticulations.

'Cause they grew up watching CSI and thought 'wow, that's really cool' without ever realising that CSI is a TV show.

They probably also say 'enhance, enhance' to their PC when they download a grainy pr0n picture.

Oh God... (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992303)

That movie was bad enough, we do not need people waving their arms at their computer screen in meatspace.

why? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year and a half ago | (#41992921)

"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." - Ian Malcolm

I get why people do maybe-foolish things, when the envisioned result is something cool like dinosaurs. Why do people do things when the best-case scenario is something, which is orders of magnitude lamer than the status quo?

Guys, we already have MICE. WTF is the point of using a kinect for a job like this? Are you saying some day you'll get it perceiving precisely enough that it'll be able to detect me slightly moving my hand on a table, as though I were using a mouse?

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41993263)

Look up leap motion.
Let me do it for you since you probably won't.
https://leapmotion.com/

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41996079)

Mod up.

Too bad the Xbox browser sucks (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993283)

I was really excited to see the Xbox was adding a browser: We're cutting cable and the only were were going to miss were some shows on channels like Discovery. Figured I would stick a network-connected, cheap HTPC to the TV so we could surf discovery.com, etc. for the episodes that they put online. Only thing is, didn't want to spend cash to build the thing. New patch adds a browser? Cool. No need to stick another device on the network. But it doesn't support Flash which means it doesn't let us stream most things. Too many sites still aren't at HTML5 and so rely on Flash for video. As they say: Sucks to be me.

Oh WTF (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993297)

The website I was looking at kept scrolling up and down... and up and down... and up and down... oh wait, um... nevermind.

This would only really be useful (1)

Kryptonut (1006779) | about a year and a half ago | (#41993781)

....if the Javascript API is able to be implemented in future versions of other browsers. Otherwise it's really just a gimmick. Vendor lock-in doesn't really work in the browser world anymore, like it did with the older versions of IE.

Developers are going to want something that works in all major browsers, to get the biggest possible target audience....hence we have things like HTML & CSS standards and javascript frameworks (to handle the deficiencies / differences behind the scenes) that give a certain degree of "write once, run anywhere" in a browser, which ever one that may be.

Give Google, Mozilla and Opera access to the device so that they can implement the same Javascript API, then we'll be interested.

More HTML5 vs .NET?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41995361)

Is nobody going to question this specious statement?

"The good news is that more programmers know how to do HTML5 graphics than know how to work with DirectX or .NET" .......umm.....I don't think so, and I just used as many metrics as you did to support your claim: none and personal opinion.

The future of this - a mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41998509)

I see a future for this. Although, at some point I think people will want to optimise the experience, so instead of waving your hands around just to read some material, we have some form of wired or wireless device that can drive some form of context sensitive pointer around the screen and allow easier interaction.

I call this device the "mouse".

like to see other kinect software (1)

unique_parrot (1964434) | about a year and a half ago | (#41999793)

my wishes would be:
1.) make a really good and fast SLAM programm on windows I don't have to compile myself (like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o3ABX7xYJU [youtube.com] ) and extract a real 3d model (extract, convert and compress the point cloud to textured 3d).
2.) while beeing on this job it would be really nice to have a drag-and-drop photogrammetrie application without uploading all my pics to autodesks 123catch or microsofts photosynth.

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