Microsoft’s Kinect eyes path beyond gaming, into other industries
As Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming console nears its 10th anniversay, the company said its future may lie beyond gaming.
“That’s still the core of what we do, but if you think of the next 10 years of our business, it’s all the new opportunities and possibilities that Kinect is opening us up to,” Craig Cincotta, director of communications for Xbox, told Reuters.
Microsoft’s Kinect, launched last year, is a sensing camera and microphone device that plugs into the Xbox 360 console, allowing users to play games purely with gestures and voice commands.
The device flew off shelves, setting a record sales pace for a consumer electronics device, and was immediately attractive to hackers who devised ways of making it work on standard computers.
“People in academics and hobbyists started using it in ways that in reality we knew that it had the potential, but we hadn’t thought of certain applications yet,” Cincotta said.
Microsoft announced last week it would release a commercial version of the Kinect software development kit in early 2012.
The company has also partnered with more than 200 businesses in more than 20 countries, including Toyota Motor Corp, textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and digital advertising firm Razorfish Inc, for a pilot program to expand Kinect-based experiences.
“People are going to see Xbox and Kinect show up in really interesting industries in really interesting ways in the next couple years,” Cincotta said.
Tedesys, a healthcare technology company in Spain, created an application to allow surgeons to flow through imagery of patients’ records in the operating room without having to scrub in and out.
Interactive advertising, community whiteboards to post information and applications for physical therapy and rehabilitation, Cincotta said, are among ways the Kinect may become a part of people’s daily lives.
“It really is about a world beyond just games,” Cincotta said.
Microsoft released a beta version of the kit in June for non-commercial use, expressing an interest in what developers would make of the technology. Microsoft was at first hostile to such uses by hackers and software enthusiasts.