The video game entertainment industry has always seemed to be at the forefront of many of today’s technological advancements. With swirling rumors of the next generation Xbox platform geared up to be more than 6-times more powerful than its predecessor, speculation about a second-gen Kinect can only be expected. The Microsoft Research lab has recently released a video detailing the use of a new technology on an upgraded Kinect system that may find its way into future system updates.
Researcher Cem Keskin shows us a new use for the Kinect on a Perceptive Pixel-made touchcreen PC running Windows 8. The old Kinect system could only detect hands as single points on screen, but with a few adjustments, can now detect whether a hand is opened or closed. Using a Random Forests ensemble of decision trees, the new system detects which on-screen pixels belong to the hands followed by the class of the pixels. The two possible hand states (open, closed) allow the software to simulate handgrips and touch commands.
Keskin then goes on and demonstrates the device on a couple of Windows 8 apps. Fresh Paint is used to illustrate the ability to paint on screen and zooming. Bing maps is also called up to show similar zooming abilities as well as screen rotation. Hand gestures are used throughout allowing Keskin through seamlessly open and close the Windows 8 apps.
Though the demonstration takes place on the Windows 8 platform, it is safe to assume that a new Xbox console would come equipped with a gesture-control capable Kinect as seen above. We’ll have to wait and see when the time comes. Though, Kinect 2.0 will most likely feature this tech (holiday 2013). Another innovative solution to human-interface interactivity is in the books, courtesy of Microsoft Research.