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Kinect open source could usher motion computing revolution

Imagine walking into a room and booting up your PC with a "Computer on" voice command, then controlling your apps with simple hand gestures. Sound too futuristic? Microsoft wants to make that happen today with the motion-sensing Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360.

Microsoft released a software development kit  for the Kinect that gives anyone with programming knowledge the ability to create motion -- or voice-sensing -- applications for Windows 7. An open source Kinect (like the Android mobile OS) could spark an evolution of new applications and add improved functionality to existing software.

Actually, the experimentation has already begun. Kinect software was hacked back in November by underground programmers. Do a YouTube search of “Kinect hacks” and you’ll get a glimpse of the possibilities of motion computing. In one example, a gamer created a demo where he used his hands and head to play a three-dimensional version of Tetris. In another, a programmer uses the Kinect to conduct a virtual orchestra. Check out the video below to see more Kinect apps.

Microsoft said it envisions a day when motion-control tools are used for three-dimensional teleconferencing, interactive retail displays, automated robotics, medical training and even assistance for the blind.

Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t announced any short term plans to integrate Kinect  with any of its major software like Word or Excel.

If you’re familiar with the C++, C# or Visual Basic programming languages, download the development kit for free and let us know your vision of motion sensing computing.


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