On Monday, Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 7 integration with the Xbox Kinect. On Tuesday, hackers showed off iPhone and iPad integration with the Xbox Kinect.
"The cube is what controls which demo is currently on screen," reads the video's description. "It uses and accelerometer to detect what side is up. Each side of the cube is labeled with a different Kinect demo. There is also an Xbee and an Arduino wirelessly sending serial to the host computer. Processing takes the serial and converts it to OSC (Open Sound Control) for Unity3d to work with."
Microsoft's demo earlier this week showed the console and the phone communicating in real-time. It was not just Kinect motion sensing ported to the phone, it was player input from the phone being added to a Kinect game, turning the phone into an auxiliary controller. Here, hackers have done the same with iOS devices.
This particular Kinect hack was developed to play a very basic game of Dodgeball. One person is playing on the Kinect and his or her goal is to catch balls while avoiding being hit. The other players are playing on their iPhone or iPad and their goal is to shoot balls at the first player. If the Kinect player catches the ball, the points go to that player. The longer the iOS player holds down a button on an iPad or iPhone controller, the harder the ball is thrown, and the more points are awarded.
Regardless of which mobile device company the user chooses, Microsoft or Apple, this is a prime example of Natural User Interfaces (NUI) working together. We have a player using a multitouch touchscreen to interact with a game and a second player using their body as a motion controller to interact with the same game.
This shows that cross-platform multiplayer gaming is coming, and that the learning curve for such a NUI game is very, very flat, for all participants. It also shows something else. We already know that the future of computing lies in NUI, but what many tend to forget is that compatibility between devices is even more critical. Even when most computers are using NUI instead of GUI, the big hurdle in that new world will be whether they seamless integrate with each other, the same problem that we still have today.