Microsoft celebrates a year of Kinect by demonstrating its effects [video]

By Tom Warren, on 31st Oct 11 10:42 am with 35 Comments

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.

  • Henry Edwards

    Microsoft Should make adverts/videos like this for all their products, as this advert is really good.

  • Kee

    It’s funny, how we got used to Kinect instead of NATAL) Still, I like NATAL more, it’s beautiful

    • Carlos Ribeiro da Fonseca

      Yeah but NATAL means or is associated with Christmas (you know, the
      Nativity and all that). With that name Microsoft would have to explain
      what it was and how it works and how is it related to Christmas.

      While Kinect may not work in the east, it easily works in the west
      because pretty much all western languages use variations of the greek
      kinetikós. It requires no explanation, you already know it is somehow related to movement. And then you see this ad and go: movement, got it!

  • Seth_p

    Who would play a piano or violin like that? It doesn’t look comfortable or practical. Cool nonetheless :)

    • Nick Webster

      I think it is just showing what we could do, not what we would do. The possibilities are endless with the Kinect, I can see it being used a lot more in the future, for more then just games.

    • Seth_p

      Yeah, that’s true. There’s a wide range of market the Kinect could enter! Looks promising :D

    • Skysinof

      I don’t think it’ll work very well with the violin example. The fingers would be occluded in many scenarios, unless you use a 2-kinect setup. And even then, there are other variables at play: What’s the spatial threshold between “strings”? Can kinect even provide the precision required for this? What about swaying body movements? Or must the violinist sit very still? Length of the instrument’s neck? etc.

      Also, for me, musical instruments is simply different without tactile feedback. Just because it’s innovative, doesn’t necessary mean it’ll be better. But nonetheless, it’ll be very interesting to see these types of projects pop up.

    • phil jay

      Well maybe for people that can’t play violin. It would just play cool sound roughly according to your movement :P

    • Skysinof


      That’s actually a good idea for a game!

      “The One-Man Band”
      Swing head from side to side: Cymbal
      Nodding head: drum beats
      Violin-gesture: violin sound
      Tapping gesture: piano sound
      Hot bar around screen: Move hand across each icon for different sound effects
      :D :D

    • Bluesky

      It shouldn’t be considered an exact experience or an alternative to the real thing.

      Playing tennis is no where as easy as a swing from a wii remote, and driving cars and airplanes is way different than the simple moves done by the d-pads.

      But these things add another experience, which can alone be enough in entertainment business.


    • Lol

      Just shutup

  • Orange Lightning

    A surprisingly beautiful advert from Microsoft, the team responsible need to do some WP7 adverts.

    • Tom W

      Exactly. This kind of emotional advert is something that appears to each and everyone. Beautiful and inspiring.

    • Lewis McCrary

      What? Goofy people dancing isn’t good enough? :)

      I agree completely.  That ad targets something powerful in humans; our emotions.  WP7 ads should try it out.

    • Anonymous

      This is literally one of the best commercials I’ve seen in a while! And WP7 should totally be advertised this way!

    • Anonymous

      I agree.  What a brilliant ad.  I thought for a second, “Is this an Apple ad?”

      Get this thing on the air and make some WP7 ad’s just like it.  Are you out there Microsoft? Are you listening?

  • Jubbin Grewal

    This might just be Microsoft best ad ever. SEE! THey have the marketing team for that…

  • Marco Dengel

    I love the music! It’s a classical version of Pixies’ “Where is my mind” (known from Fight Club). Does anybody know where to get this version from the commercial?

  • Anonymous

    I like how Microsoft made their kinect open sourced & is supporting the other uses of it. Cheers to Microsoft!!!

  • Monkey D Black

    this is how Microsoft should advertise their products… product at  time and forget trying to cram everything in one ad. when everything is crammed together it comes off as having no “soul”.

    this ad was very beautiful, informative, gets the point across and most definitely stirs the emotion. give mare ads like this Microsoft an you will see people going crazy over your products.

  • Lewis McCrary

    Elegant and simple.  All of their ads need to be like this.  Anyone at WP7 watching that? ;)

  • JimmyFal

    What now they copy the Apple commercials? Kinect was my idea. Much better. I wonder if it’s the same bunch of (*&^%^’s that are in charge of advertising the phone. Can’t be.

    • Anonymous

      Apple invented emotional commercials now? These type of commercials have been around for a long time. Even the oil companies used the emotional commercials to claim they help the environment.

    • Anonymous

      Obvious troll is obvious.

  • Jonathan Marston

    I this going to play on TV? Cause it should…

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft should have these guys produce their Windows 7 phone commercials. They need to show someone using their phone for business (Outlook, Office) then transitioning to personal use (social networking, Skype) then transition to gaming (Xbox Live).   Something like this would show how versatile a product the Windows 7 phone is.

  • Anonymous

    This ad made me cry.

  • Anonymous

    Damn I have emotionally manipulative ads like these! It’s unfair to pull on the heart-strings to sell product!

  • Evan Alexander

    This is the kind of AD microsoft should be running on TV.  Not those weird family ones.  typical

  • Anonymous

    Ok.  Ok.  That … that was … fantastic.  I kept trying to think more practically how this was going to make people want to buy Kinect but by the end the pure … art of it all overwhelmed me.  It’s the best commercial the MS has done in a long time.  Whoever does the ads for the Xbox division just ‘gets’ it.

    • Anonymous

      Steve Jobs would be spinning in his grave if he had known about this ad. THEY STOLE OUR ADVERTISING!!!!!

  • Arkistriph

    I really enjoyed this and the future vision advert they put out recently. Come on Microsoft call the ball and dont drop it.

  • Kexik

    Where is my mind?!

  • Anonymous

    Reading the youtube comments, 80% are disliking the video because it’s most fictional. Apple always shows the iPad/iPhone doing what it can do NOW, rather then after effects. Sure this video is impressively done, but in a way it’s false advertising.

  • Abhimanyu Jamwal

    two words…………..nailed it