We could be seeing Kinect gesture-recognition technology embedded in laptops within the next year. Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com
The ability to control a Windows desktop with a simple hand gesture could become reality sooner than we once thought.
The Daily got a sneak peek at two Microsoft-developed Windows 8 notebook prototypes with built-in Kinect sensors. The system would allow for gesture recognition in portable devices for the first time. The prototypes “appear to be Asus netbooks” and “feature an array of small sensors stretching over the top of the screen where the webcam would normally be,” The Daily reported.
3-D gesture control on a laptop could offer more interactive, Kinect-style PC gaming, as well as new computer interfaces and ways to control one’s notebook.
Microsoft opened up its Kinect SDK to developers in June, and recently said it would be bringing Kinect to desktop PCs in 2012. The Xbox Kinect console itself is already in 18 million households the world over.
Although Microsoft popularized it, the 3-D gesture recognition space is rapidly becoming a hot area of innovation.
Another company, SoftKinetic, is working on similar technology aimed at the notebook market. Using a different technology than what the Kinect currently incorporates, the SoftKinetic system can sense motion as close as 5.9 inches away. And then there’s LG and Samsung, whose upcoming Smart TVs have taken a cue from Microsoft, and will incorporate Kinect-style gesture recognition, along with other forms of interface control like voice control, and touchscreen remotes.
Although Microsoft is demonstrating and testing this technology, finished Kinect-based portable products may not come straight from Redmond, but rather from developers or OEMs.
Windows 8 is set to debut in beta in February. We should start seeing finished Windows 8 products (notebooks and tablets) arriving toward the middle and end of this year.