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Microsoft® pushes more Kinect-like user interfaces

When Kinect was brought in by Microsoft, the handheld controllers for human voice commands and gestures were done away with. But now in a reversal, Microsoft wants that not just Kinect, but also Kinect-like interfaces to be used for games and other products. In other words, it is Microsoft’s opinion that natural user interfaces like Kinect should not be simply restricted to video games.

The officials of Microsoft also disclosed that their research team was busy in developing new products that will be using technology that is similar to the natural user interface like Kinect. They are of the view that these days with the world of technology changing so rapidly, it is highly important that interfaces are more intuitive, easy to use and much more adaptable to human habits and wishes.

Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group is doing research and working towards developing smart and interactive displays by making use of technology involved in Kinect. The technology put to use also includes the one that improves the display of 3D images. With plans of improving upon the display of 3D imagery, Microsoft is developing a Kinect-based virtual window that can track a user’s position relative to a 3D display to create the illusion of looking through a window.

Apart from this there is something else upon which Microsoft is working with full focus and that is the ability to include face recognition in videos. So you can dream of a future when an Xbox will have the ability of recognizing people sitting in their living room. Actually many of its 17 projects that were displayed by Microsoft at the Tech Fest 2011 make use of the natural user interfaces. Among the projects at display were: 3-D Photo-Real Talking Head (that comes with freely controlled head motions and facial expressions). It also extends the 2-D photo real talking head to 3-D.

Among other projects on display were: 3-D Scanning with a Regular Camera, Retro-Reflective Air-Gesture Display, Steerable Multiview Display, Fuzzy Contact Search for Windows Phone 7, High-Performance Cancer Screening, Interactive Information Visualizations and MirageBlocks.

Imagine yourself creating your 3-D content instead of just watching it. Microsoft is taking an initiative to demonstrate a technology that will allow to do this with your regular camera. According to Microsoft, a user will be able to create 3-D images by spinning it around on their screen, tablet or mobile device.

Then there is another project that will be helpful for business customers. Cloud data analytics will bring the cloud mapping options to Excel and that would result in making much easier the navigation of large sets of data. You also have “Fuzzy” contact search for Windows Phone 7 that solves the problem of typing in incorrectly the name on a smartphone that is used by a consumer.

Microsoft® preparing official Kinect drivers and SDK for Windows®

Well it is now official that Microsoft is preparing official Kinect drivers and also SDK for the Window based desktops. The Kinect device is used with Xbox 360 gaming console without the need for a controller. In a press release, Microsoft confirmed that they sold 8 million Kinect sensors in a matter of 60 days only. The success story of Kinect has been phenomenal and people have recognized the various advantages that this product can serve to the people. The previous best was 5 million units which got broken last year when Microsoft sold some 8 million units of the products to retailers all over the world.

There have been attempts by hackers to use other software in the controller less Xbox 360 device. According to Microsoft officials, the USB connection on Kinect was left open actually by design. Recent news from the cyber world certainly tells us that there is a conscious effort on part of Microsoft to bring out a driver for Kinect and SDK. The company will distribute the drivers under the beta tags. In order to do so, Microsoft is trying to get support from other companies as well like that of XNA Game Studio tools.

Kinect engineer shifts to Google™

One of the fathers of KINECTS is now shared by Google. Do you remember Johnny Chung Lee? No? Here is the reference for you. This man had hijacked a very clever way for the famous Nintendo Wiimote to create “touch” interfaces. Following his brilliant demonstration, Lee had been hired by Microsoft and has participated in Project Natal, in other words Kinect, visual interface for the Xbox 360 which has a very great success since its launch. We learned today that Lee was poached by Google. Johnny says on his blog have joined the team dedicated to a “special project”. Given the skills of man can imagine in the short term the launch of a Google TV KINECTS or longer-term adaptation of this kind of interface for PCs and Smartphones Chrome OS Android.

It is via his Twitter account that Johnny Chung Lee , who is one of the architects of the motion detection KINECTS the Xbox 360, said it had resigned from his position at Microsoft for a job at Google. Lee was described as a major contributor to the software algorithms that allow the system to properly follow KINECTS movements. He gave no reason for his choice. This is a big loss for Microsoft and a big win for Google. Kinect developer Johnny Chung Lee will now join as “Rapid Evaluator” at Google.

Lee left his position after getting Kinect reached 8 million units sold in just two months. Kinect, a system that lets you play videogames without physical controls on the Xbox 360 allowed Microsoft to stay on top of console sales charts in the U.S., ahead of the PlayStation 3 and Wii. Microsoft has sold more than 50 million Xbox 360 units sold worldwide; double the number it sold the first generation of the console.

Johnny Chung Lee the developer is famous enough now. He had tinkered with the Wii for example to create a multi-touch table. But what concerns us directly, he was hired by Microsoft to work on Project Natal is now called KINECTS .The ad man after working more than two and a half years on algorithms for tracking human KINECTS , decided to join Google . The decision was very difficult one and he still remembers the early stages of Project Natal (and even before it has a name). He wishes the Microsoft team good luck for the next Xbox and wait to see how the console will evolve. It’s a good console and a good platform; with lots of potential according to his believe.

Will Google be able to use his master brain? Only time will tell but the plans of the company.

Microsoft to Gain $2 Billion with Xbox Kinect Sales

Analysts predict that with higher subscription growth and sales from Xbox 360 Kinect, Microsoft could a real winner, with possibilities of their Share values going as high as $37 triggered mainly by Kinect, along with Windows 7 systems and enterprise spending.

Analyst predictions

Caris & Company’s analyst Sandeep Aggarwal predicts that there will be fifteen to twenty-five percent of Xbox 360 customers who are likely or would be considering buying the Microsoft’s Kinect, a controller free motion gaming system during this year, which will generate close to USD 900 million from hardware sales alone. Due to the motion controller’s functionality this could also boost Xbox 360 console sales, which will generate a further USD 300 million, therefore combining with Xbox Live’s low attrition and increased growth in software sales and subscription, Aggarwal estimates Microsoft to gain up to USD two billion, thanks to Xbox Kinect.

Xbox Kinect

Kinect for Xbox 360 also known as Kinect will be launched on 4th November this year. It is one of it’s kind motion controller, whereby eliminating the need to use any physical controller to play games or interact. It is a web-cam style add-on peripheral that can be connected with Xbox 360 consoles, and providing users with a natural user interface using presented images and / or objects, hand gestures and / or spoken commands, without the real need for any other physical controller medium. The product with the Kinect sensor accompanied by Kinect Adventures (a Kinect launch game) is currently marked at USD 149.99; the whole bundle along with the Xbox 360 console and the game will be on sale for USD 299.99. Most of the Kinect launch games will be retailed at USD 49.99 and up.

The Technology

The Kinect sensor is a horizontal bar that is connected to the Xbox 360 console’s small-motorised pivot base. The device will have a RGB camera, proprietary software that will be running the multi-array microphone and depth sensor. The microphone will allow Xbox 360 to perform a acoustic source localization and surrounding noise reduction with witch users can go online without headsets to chat via the Xbox Live. The software would require a minimum of 175 Mega Byte space, which allow users for physical controller free gesture and facial recognitions. Video Kinect an application with the software will allow users to do video or face to face chat both on Xbox Live and MSN live messenger. With a good tracking functionality, the Kinect sensors can ensure that its motorised pivot will always adjust the internal camera on a frame and motion adjusting along with the user’s movement.

Kinect and Windows 7’s several platform launch is really going to be a boost Microsoft’s position in the market and as predicted they will not be pushed a step back by Apple Inc or any of its competitors. Currently Microsoft’s stocks are already up by 2 percent, and during the recent Worldwide Partnership Conference, Microsoft has announced a lot more product launches and revolutionizing the way it stands on today’s market.

Highlights of Xbox 360 Slim & Microsoft Xbox Kinect

Xbox 360 slim has already been selling in some selected stores in the US, while some sources say that Xbox Kinect will be bundled in a package for a reasonable price. UK and the rest of Europe will be able to taste a bite of the new releases from mid July. The new console from Microsoft has been priced at 199 dollars.

Xbox Kinect is a new wave of controllers from Microsoft. Actually there are no controllers, with Kinect, previously ‘Project Natal’, the players become the controllers themselves according to an Xbox marketing pitch. It was expected to be slim in design to go along with the to-be-released Xbox 360 slim, latest press release pictures suggests Microsoft thought otherwise. However it is not clear how the 20 billion dollar games market would embrace the revolutionary technology behind kinect. Some suggests only the hardcore gamers would try their hands on the gadget first, while others think this will be similar to the introduction of the Wiimote by Nintendo.

Xbox 360 Slim

Most people were awaiting for the release of Xbox 360 slim in the run up for the holidays. Common perception of that Microsoft probably would not miss the accelerated sales that could flow in during the holidays has been proved right. The new Xbox 360 slim is not jam packed with a large amount of new features, while the highlight of the bundle is the revolutionary kinect controllers.

Microsoft Xbox Kinect

A new wave of controllers have arrived that are just capable of not only keeping the gamers entertained but also active, something similar to the Wiimote from Nintendo. In fact Nintendo Wii console and the Wiimote was the beginning of such interactive controller based games and entertainment. Quite naturally Microsoft felt obliged to provide Xbox lovers with something similar, perhaps something better than the Wiimote.

Performance expectations

Just like the hype around Nintendo Wii, the Xbox kinect has been getting plenty of attention within the gaming industry. As the problem with Wiimote was the lack of enough high quality games to support the capabilities of the gadget. But the Xbox kinect being backward compatible, no such specially developed games are a necessity. Average price for an Xbox kinect ranging around 150 dollars, average gamer would surely evaluate the value for money before committing to a purchase. Nevertheless the Xbox kinect and the Xbox 360 slim are already taking the gaming market by storm.

Gamers are more vulnerable towards addictive gadgets enclosed with new technology and revolutionary thinking. Formerly “Project Natal”, currently renamed as “Xbox kinect”, is such a gadget that is expected to amplify the sales of the Xbox 360 slim as well. Since the market has some experience with similar groundbreaking gaming consoles and controllers, the anticipated success of the Microsoft’s latest would heavily rely on the sales and marketing pitch for the particular products.

Which is Better Xbox Kinect or PlayStation Move?

In 2006, Nintendo introduced a motion based controller to its Wii. But console companies like Sony and Microsoft as well as some industry analysts thought that such development was unappealing for gamers.

They turned out to be wrong. Nintendo dominated the market in this area for four years until Sony and Microsoft changed their opinions about it and admitted that such technology is the next big thing. So these companies introduced their own line of motion based control technology in their products.

The one more familiar among the two recently released products is the one made by Sony, the Playstation Move. It appears similar to the Wii Remote and Nunchuk at first glance except that there is no cord that connects the controller pairs and there is this luminescent orb on top of the controllers.
In terms of ergonomics, the Playstation move has a better design than the Wii controller. Its buttons are easier to access than the Wii and one of its controllers has both an analog and digital controller.

On the other hand, the Xbox Kinect which is manufactured by Microsoft is not very familiar in design. The Kinect is not the specific controller and is an attachment to the Xbox 360 to act like a motion sensing device. The new Xbox 360 Slim has a designated USB port made specifically for the Kinect. The Kinect should be properly positioned in front of the Xbox 360 so that it can sense the full body motion of the game player. Its voice recognition technology also allows the Xbox 360 to be controlled by voice commands.

Since these two new products are really different, it would be hard to make an objective comparison. Apart from the similarity that they are both based on motion control technology in the gaming industry, they are different in terms of looks, design, cost, and control scheme. In terms of price, the Playstation Move is more expensive than the Wii at its price of $50.

The Kinect, however, is sold at $150 making it cost at half the cost of the Xbox 360 where it is attached into. In terms of capability, the Playstation Move can only detect hand motion whereas the Kinect can detect full body motion. Furthermore, the Kinect has this voice recognition technology which is not found in the other products that we have mentioned previously.

However, judging from the amount of time that these two companies spent in promoting these new technologies at their respective E3 press conferences, it can be deduced that these companies are rooting the importance of these new products in their game consoles.

Since the number of games that can be played using motion control technology is quite limited and incompatibility issues with their other games may arise, these new products may not make it easy. In addition with the high cost of these products and the recessing economy, only time can really tell how these products will pace in the market.

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Call Now: +1 833-522-1003
Call Now: +1 833-522-1003