Microsoft’s Kinect Xbox 360 accessory is celebrating its first birthday this week.
Microsoft originally introduced Kinect on November 4 last year. Kinect was initially available for the Xbox 360 but thanks to a range of “Kinect hacks”, Microsoft announced an official way to develop with Kinect for PC. The company had plans for this all along but was forced to bring them forward after a large number of hobbyists and researchers began to use the device in various scenarios. “Almost immediately following the launch of Kinect, hobbyists and academics from around the world embraced Kinect possibilities in ways that surprised and delighted,” explained Microsoft’s corporate communications chief, Frank Shaw, in a blog post on Monday. “As we watched these stories unfold, the term “The Kinect Effect” emerged in hallway conversations at Microsoft as a way to describe the amazing and creative ways Kinect was being used.”
Microsoft is using the “Kinect Effect” terminology as a way to demonstrate the profound effect of the device and how it will change computing in the future. The software giant has witnessed hundreds of unique stories and YouTube videos of how Kinect was helping daily activities and improving the way people work. “We saw Kinect being used by therapists and physicians as part of a rehabilitation program for stroke victims, as a skill-building technique for children with autism, and as an application for hospitals in Spain enabling surgeons to scroll through medical images in the operating room with gestures so they could avoid the need to rescrub,” said Shaw.
Kinect hackers have shown off Minority Report style multitouch control and the Kinect running on Mac OS X. Videos also emerged of device owners fully controlling Windows 7 and interactive prototype puppets. Some hackers even managed to get Angry Birds working with Kinect. Microsoft is now promising that the future will include Kinect in a big way. The company will open up its software development kit (SDK) to commercial businesses next year. “We recognize the intense commercial interest in harnessing the capabilities of Kinect, and are working with a wide range of companies and developers to create a great set of tools and APIs,” explained Shaw. Microsoft is working with over 200 companies to help them create unique applications across 25 industries.
Watch the video below for the “Kinect Effect” and check out Microsoft’s Kinect Effect site for more demonstrations.