In Microsoft’s vision of the future, Kinect sensors are everywhere: In your living room, your kitchen, at school, and even in the supermarket, above the fruit display.
And why not? The $150 motion-sensing device provides a cheap way to add gesture and voice controls to any application. Plus it’s got a camera and two 3D depth sensors that give computers a tool to map out spaces in three dimensions, recognize people by their faces, identify real-world objects, and create 3D models of those objects.
I spent a day at Microsoft’s Redmond campus this week attending TechForum, a small gathering of about a dozen journalists hosted by Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie. Part strategy briefing, part new-product showcase, part science fair, TechForum was a chance for us writers to see an array of recent and upcoming technologies that Microsoft’s been working on, both in its commercial products as well as in its pure research labs.
Kinect sensors weren’t the day’s primary theme, but it was fascinating to see how many contexts in which the flat, three-eyed black bar kept popping up.