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Top 10 unusual things kinect could be used for

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-05-24
Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a girl of style and grace. Well not really, but you gotta admit the Stones seems appropriate due to the horns and wings, no? The name is Valkyrie Ice, and while I’m new to Top100 Arena, I’ve been gaming since the days of Pong, and observing the impact gaming has had on the world outside of games. It’s this impact I’m here to discuss today, as we look at the Kinect controller, which despite Microsoft’s marketing claims, is not really a game controller at all. Yeah, I know, you CAN play games with it, but as the following ten examples should show, the Kinect controller is something FAR more than just a game controller, and based on what else it’s used for, I would say we ain’t seen nuthin yet.

1 Robot Vision

When the Kinect first came out, it took about a week for robotics developers to realize that it was a cheap and simple to use replacement for very expensive robotic vision systems. At a fraction of the cost, the Kinect’s lidar and camera combo not only allowed them to replace multiple different sensor systems, but it’s USB interface made it far more adaptable to differing platforms than having to custom design new sensors with every robot generation. Whether it was a humanoid robot, a roomba, or a quadcopter, the Kinect let robots see like never before.

2 Robot Controller

In addition to allowing robots to see, the Kinect also allowed robot users to interact with their machines far more easily as well. Rather than having to wear a sensor glove, or manipulate a joystick, a robot could be directly controlled by making it mimic the user’s hands and body. Given a few tweaks, even toy robots could suddenly share a little human dexterity, and a highly sophisticated robot arm could be manipulated just by waggling your fingers.

3 3d Mapping

As if replacing expensive robotic vision and control systems weren’t enough, the Kinect also suddenly put 3d environment and object mapping into the affordability range. Whether it was a room, or a complex object, the Kinect could render it in 3d on the computer. Scanning your room to turn it into a level for your FPS became a snap with the right software and a little ingenuity.

4 Gestural Interfaces.

Remember that fancy computer Tom Cruise got to play with on Minority Report, or the one Tony Stark plays with in Iron Man? The Kinect has made that a reality. From tossing pictures on a screen in front of a crowd to playing air guitar, the Kinect is being used to eliminate mice, joysticks and pointers all around the world.

5 VR Interface.

Ever wanted to make your Game Avatar look, act, and talk just like you? From Secondlife to Xbox Avatars, the Kinect makes it possible. Why talk to Milo or control a Dance Avatar some game developer created? Just paste your image to a body map and walk through the virtual world as yourself. Or, if you’d rather, have a “face to face” chat with someone half a world away.

6 Interactive art medium.

And speaking of Air guitars and Dance avatars, ever wanted to create a light show while dancing, or paint on your computer the same way you would your easel? The Kinect’s finger tracking abilities can set your fingers aglow or tell exactly where your brush is. Who needs a touch screen or Microsoft Surface when a projector display and a Kinect can turn a glass table into a virtual touchscreen monitor?

7 Cheap Motion Capture

Ever wanted to be the Hulk? Or maybe do a little wallcrawling with Spiderman? Why bother with a big budget studio when you can do the same thing with a Kinect and a copy of Poser? The days of dressing up in ping pong suits and standing in front of a blue screen are numbered.

8 Telepresence

Are you a Doctor who has dreamed of helping disaster victims in the 3rd world, but don’t want to leave your own nice safe home? Or a business executive who needs to be at a meeting in China and NY within 10 minutes of each other? Never fear, with a Kinect, and a variety of robots, you can see and hear, as well as interact, with people half a world away without having to get out of your pajamas.

9 Education

I think this video will demonstrate how the Kinect can be used in a classroom better than I can:
So, think about a classroom where the students can grab and manipulate the “chalkboard”, or a museum where they can pick up and examine virtual artifacts for a hands on experience instead of the dead dry lectures delivered in monotone heard in classrooms around the world today. Pretty exciting, no? Almost makes me want to be a kid again… almost XP

10 Sex

Hey, I’m a succubus, you should have known this was coming. Because, yes, the Kinect has already been used for interactive pornography, giving users a “hands on” ability to interact with a virtual sex partner. Combine one with some of the robots discussed above, and I’m sure you too can see some the possibilities that might… um… shall we say “arise”? So there you have it. Ten examples of why you should look at that Kinect sitting on your TV with a little bit of awe. It’s changed the world in far more ways than you imagined.

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