This also changes everything
A while back, I blogged in a somewhat surreal manner about what was then rumoured to be called Natal. A paradigm shifting project from Microsoft that really will change how we interact with silicon through very clever use of 3D motion capture technology. And not just from an entertainment perspective. Today, they re-branded Natal ‘Kinect’ (clever, and dovetailing into their other ‘kin’ devices) and the demonstrations were spectacular. (Not all would agree though.) Either way, the thing is, conceptually, if it could be scaled down to all our devices, Kinect renders much else from many other consumer technology companies obsolete instantly. Including those from Apple and Google. The second intelligent awareness is introduced into an entity, it enables tasks to be carried out in a manner that is naturally intuitive and as hassle free as taking a walk in the woods – if you get my meaning.
However, like the awesome (but alas conceptual) Courier ebook/tablet device previewed by Microsoft recently, can they productise Kinect as successfully as they have with their office products and the XBOX itself? If so, things are about to change for the better. The best thing is, that like the Wii, the body movements required for some of Kinect functionality will help reduce the obesity epidemic facing young and old game addicts alike.
For years I have thought how cool it would be to get people out of their homes and into huge VR simulators where groups engage in battles or other team based scenarios. Similar to laser tag or paint ball, but for a whole day or even a week at a time? Think an episode of Star Trek with the crew played by you and your friends or family, and the view screens in the mockup space ship based on projected simulated 3D imagery. This would not only be great fun, but encourage team work. The military applications of Kinetic are mind boggling too. (Assuming they are not already using it!)