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Windows 7 gets the Minority Report treatment using Kinect


November 20, 2010

Newly-developed software allows the Microsoft Kinect gesture-based gaming platform to be u...

Newly-developed software allows the Microsoft Kinect gesture-based gaming platform to be used to control the Windows 7 operating system

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In the 2002 movie Minority Report, part of the “way out there” 2054 technology was a computer system that Tom Cruise navigated his way through via arm and hand gestures. That technology – minus the holograms – has now officially arrived 44 years ahead of schedule, thanks to the design team at tech firm Evoluce. With support from Microsoft, the company has created prototype software which allows Microsoft’s Kinect gesture-based video gaming platform to control Windows 7 applications. PC-users will likely soon be able to “swim” through Google Earth images, write on-screen messages in the air, and surf the Internet without cramping their mousing hand.

The new software, which acts as a bridge between Kinect and Windows 7, is based on Evoluce’s Multitouch Input Management driver. The team altered the driver to include a multi-gesture control mode for applications running under Windows 7, including those using Flash and Java. Video and photos of the system have just been posted by the company, which says it could revolutionize many aspects of the computer-using experience. Possible applications for the technology include office, education, point of sale, medical and (naturally) gaming systems.

Newly-developed software allows the Microsoft Kinect gesture-based gaming platform to be u...

Objects (including the select tool) can be moved around the screen with one hand, or twisted back and forth with two – with two users, two objects can be independently manipulated at once. In the same way that the spreading of fingers can be used to zoom in on objects on touchscreens, the spreading of the arms allows users to move in on the new system’s display. In the example on the video, this allowed the user to essentially swim through downtown Manhattan.

Evoluce, a Germany-based company specializing in large-format multi-touch LCD displays and gesture control software, says it plans to release software soon and that software developers tapping into the bridge will soon be able to program multi-user, multi-gesture applications that will change the way people interact with the PC and consumer electronics in everyday life.

News of this software comes less than two weeks after a US$3,000 bounty was claimed, for the development of an unsanctioned open source driver that allows Kinect to be used with computer systems other than the Xbox 360.

Via Wolfgang Herfurtner’s Multitouch and Gesture Computing Blog

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth

From a technology point of view this is pretty cool, but from a practical point of view I can't see why any one would want to do this? I don't want to wildly wave my hands and arms around while using my computer. Other then typing I can to most anything I want on a computer with one hand and and 3 fingers on my logitech track man ball mouse. Is this of any use to anybody in the real world? If I had a choice as how to manipulate an image on my computer I'd choose to set very still and use my mouse, but maybe that's just me? :-)

20th November, 2010 @ 08:24 pm PST

cool .... i wonder how they are going to overcome the gorilla arm problem.

21st November, 2010 @ 05:12 am PST

How f* awesome, now, in a few months we should be able to scroll through epages with kinetict like gear in apples iPad 5 or something :D

Christoffer Thor W. Sperling
21st November, 2010 @ 07:43 am PST

I remember a 1985 seminiar I attended, when the first vioce-recognition computers were being sold. Out of the entire audience, I was the only one they could find to volunteer to test it - everyone else was too shy. 25 years go past, and *still* nobody talks to computers.

I wonder if waving your arms at a screen is destined for the same oblivion?

21st November, 2010 @ 06:50 pm PST


Daniel Plata Baca
22nd November, 2010 @ 01:58 am PST

The only use I can see for this kind of thing is to quickly traverse large areas of desktop. For example, in a 3 widescreen monitor setup, getting from the far left to the far right in one movement. It typically takes multiple mouse movements to do that. This is tiresome and annoying to the user.

22nd November, 2010 @ 04:37 am PST

This will be good on big screen tv

Paul Meyer
22nd November, 2010 @ 06:47 am PST

Christopher wrote:

"I remember a 1985 seminiar I attended, when the first vioce-recognition computers were being sold. Out of the entire audience, I was the only one they could find to volunteer to test it - everyone else was too shy. 25 years go past, and *still* nobody talks to computers.

I wonder if waving your arms at a screen is destined for the same oblivion?

comment christopher - November 21, 2010 @ 06:11 pm PST"

Just because we can do something doesn't mean we need it nor that we should do it. Technology itself isn't the goal -- appropriate technology is.

I never could believe that a roomful of workers at a company would be jabbering into their voice-recognizing desktop computers. However, we do talk to computers all the time -- call almost any large company and they have voice input to navigate through their customer support or call routing system. A hands-off computer input may also be useful in specialized situations, such as for a pathologist doing an autopsy and recording findings, or an emergency room doctor controlling a life-support machine while the medical people are all busy doing hands-on procedures. But as a general use input device, I don't see hand-waving gestures making the keyboard and mouse/tablet obsolete.

22nd November, 2010 @ 07:07 am PST

You guy are wrong, this thing has tremendous practicality, from rapid efficient file management, mouse replacement, fast doodling, note-taking, multiscreen screen cross-spatial ability, word recognition by writing in-the-air, etc. Again, this system can recognise multiple hands and is going to be useful because by using hand, different gestures can serve a lot kind of protocols.

Yeah, hanging hands in the air can be tiring, but never be tedious. Instead, this system has the same basic similarity with touchscreen technology, but it is better you call it FLOATSCREEN. It's even exciting to see next gen iphone debutting floatscreen tech than touchscreen. This thing is not a far relative from touchscreen, don't shy away guys.

I would dearly love it, hope your eyes glaze over!!

Akemai Olivia
22nd November, 2010 @ 01:24 pm PST

I would say this is one big step forward in both technogical and practical perspectives. Talking about the voice control, now the big companys are taking advantage of this tech like answering phone in ebay and microsoft. Move and guesture are no difference normally, but voice is total different story, check how many languages in the world, and the accent people are talking with. :)

22nd November, 2010 @ 03:40 pm PST

One possible use would be for online games like World of Warcraft and similar. Some of these games can be played with the Nvidia 3D goggles - they would really benefit from being able to wave your arms around to move things in 3D.

Alistair McElwee
24th November, 2010 @ 11:31 am PST

can't we all just get along

Jason Elizondo
26th November, 2010 @ 06:20 am PST

Some people will like it, some won't. Waving your hands around for long periods is tiring. It's the reason none of the "3D" mice you have to hold up constantly to use has ever been a success.

It's a nifty thing for a few minutes, then your arm feels like it's going to fall off at the elbow.

Facebook User
16th December, 2010 @ 02:43 am PST

I don't agree with the folks who don't see this a stupendous idea. Consider this... you are at your desk talking on the phone to your wife about the anniversary you forgot last night, the boss comes in, the wife is still yapping at you on the phone, the boss is eyeballing you for a printout of what's on your screen which he needed yesterday.

Here's how you respond... You cover the phone and switch thought processes. You next scan the desk for the mouse, uncover it from its hiding place under a pile of papers, grab it, then wriggle it a bunch to locate the mouse pointer on the screen, then you try to point it to the correct (tiny) place on the screen where you scroll thru the menu to locate the printer function, then click, click, click. Then you hand the paper to the boss, he leaves, and then it's back to the stress-provider on the phone who is still going strong at you. However, with the gesture approach, when you see the boss at the door, you wave him in, you wave at the screen, wriggle your fingers a bit, the paper comes out of the printer, you return to the phone call and tell the wife you really do love her and it'll be dinner at the Waldorf tonight and all's well that ends well. Only problem might be, when the anal-retentive boss walks out the door, you absently shoot him a bird whereupon the screen re-interprets the gesture and wipes your entire hard disk. Oh well, nothing's perfect, but I'd sure give this a try!

22nd December, 2010 @ 02:58 pm PST
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