Monday, November 08, 2010


While shopping on Saturday for a birthday present for my nephew I went into Hamleys toy store in the Dundrum Shopping center and they have a Microsoft Kinect on display and available for people to use! I tried a game where you bat balls at targets and while it seemed a little sluggish the basics seemed brilliant. I'm sure there must be some way to calibrate the device, after all just before I used it a 10 year old kid had been playing the same game so I'd guess the difference in size shape and standing position is bound to confuse the software. Also a busy shop is not the best place to test a motion sensing game controller.

What most impressed me was that it knew when I moved my hand back to hit the ball. A simple thing but it demonstrated that it is able to register movement forward and back as well as side to side. Microsoft may be onto a winner here, it certainly puts the Wii and Playstation wand controller things into second place though I'd guess the future of gaming lies in a combination of the two but perhaps the technology has a place in ordinary day to day computing.

Steve Jobs said at the recent Back to the Mac event that touch screens need to be horizontal or people's arms feel like they are going to fall off after a few minutes. Perhaps in reality the future of touch screens is not touch at all but gesture. Imagine just lifting your hands up from the keyboard and swiping a combination of finger in the air to replicate the Apple multi-touch gestures. Sure some work would have to go into finding a way to stop the device reacting to accidental movements and most people would never find a real use for the Minority Report interface but maybe there is a happy medium where small hand gestures could become a common part of the computer interface.

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