Will Kinect for Windows be any good?

Will Kinect for Windows be any good?

Summary: Microsoft has confirmed that it will bring out new hardware for Windows users to embrace its motion-based control platform Kinect. Great news? Perhaps not.

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Microsoft has confirmed that it will bring out new hardware for Windows users to embrace its motion-based control platform Kinect. Great news? Perhaps not.

Redmond confirmed in a blog post this week that it is currently working on a new camera rig for the Kinect system.

Since announcing a few weeks ago that the Kinect for Windows commercial program will launch in early 2012, we've been asked whether there will also be new Kinect hardware especially for Windows. The answer is yes; building on the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, we have optimised certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios.

I concede; the very idea of sorting your emails by swiping at the air in front of your computer sounds pretty awesome to me. The only problem I see with it is the fact that you're going to have to do that in front of other people and you're almost guaranteed to look like an idiot while doing it.

That's the issue, I find, with the newer, more disruptive ways of using your gadgets. Take voice control, for example: Voice Search on Android and even Siri on the iPhone 4S is a great way to get things done because it just understands you. Your friends are sure to be impressed by it at a party if they dig technology, but if you use it in an office full of other people trying to work, you're going to become very unpopular, very quickly, and it's likely to be the same with Kinect.

In our office, there's the low hum of general office noise like keyboards clacking, phones ringing and hushed conversations in various pockets around the place. Add to that environment someone waving their hands around wildly in front of their computer trying to get a PowerPoint presentation together using Kinect for Windows, then doing a Voice Search through Google Chrome and using Siri to text their partner — that person's co-workers are likely to get annoyed really fast.

While it's encouraging that Microsoft is working on a disruptive way of working, the company needs to find a way to bypass the silliness factor that the Kinect will bring with it.

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Topics: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Windows

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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4 comments
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  • Horses for courses.

    There will be some applications that will hugely benefit from 3D input. But one would have to have strong arms and high stamina to do it all day.
    Patanjali
    • "But one would have to have strong arms and high stamina to do it all day."

      Indeed, this is most likely the activity that the Kinect will be used for.. I mean, we all saw where chat roulette went!
      twide-5578f
  • Kinect, Voice Control all these offer enormous possibilities of independence for people with disabilities that find traditional ways of engaging with computers extremely difficult. So I agree in offices can be a bit frantic but there are so many valuable uses for people with specific needs. Keep developing in all directions.
    jeffneal@...
  • It's an interesting idea in theory, but as was stated in the text, it would get very annoying very fast in an office environment. It'll probably be not much more than a fad, from its perspective, something that would look cool for a while... but then be left to collect dust when people go back to the old keyboard and mouse.
    dmh_paul