The Kinect is supposedly “just” a video game toy, but Microsoft and the hacking community have turned it into more. A lot more, in fact. The fact that Microsoft has made PC integration with the device relatively simple is only helping matters. And now, finally, we see Microsoft’s endgame: To make Minority Report a reality.
Microsoft and Ubi Interactive have designed software that uses the Kinect, a projector, and a Windows 8 PC to essentially make any surface a touchscreen. If you’ve seen that particular ingredients list, you know how this works, and there have been a few similar hacks, but essentially, it works like this:
You project a computer screen up onto a wall. Preferably it’s something with interactive elements, which is why this is limited to Windows 8. The Kinect scans the wall and “matches” the projection to the elements on the computer screen. Then, as you gesture, the Kinect takes control of your computer, so for example you can scroll through a presentation, or zoom in on a detail as you’re requested to.
That said, the ability to wow them in sales presentations is not going to come cheap. In addition to the Kinect, the projector, and the computer, you’ll need to spend $150 on the software, which is only good for screens up to 45 inches, and you only get one touch point. $380 gets you more touch points and 100-inch screen support, and if you need lots of touch points, there are more levels all the way up to $1500 for twenty touch points, although we really don’t want to know what you might be doing with that.
Best of all, the technology is undeniably really just the start of whatever Microsoft and Ubi want to do with the Kinect; keep in mind an newer, fancier Kinect is almost upon us.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.