The Kinect gesture-control system is a great addition for Xbox 360 games that involve dancing, leaping and other sweeping body movements. But when it comes to controlling the Metro interface and video playback on the entertainment console, the wide, loping arm movements required by the Kinect become a literal pain.
Ben Heck, however, wasn’t daunted by this challenge. The super-modder known for hacking an Xbox 360 into a hand-held gaming console recognized that controlling the Metro UI with a Kinect was a chore, so he decided to create his own gesture-based interface, modeling a system from one of his favorite movies, Minority Report.
The result is the “power glove” that Heck demoed on Monday’s episode of The Ben Heck Show. His system reduces the Kinect’s sweeping arm movements to small hand swipes and gestures.
Heck says the Kinect is a great device, but he’s disappointed by its dumbed-down Netflix interface, and by how much movement is required to actually control the Xbox 360. “I wanted a glove to make the Xbox Kinect work the way we thought it would when it was announced,” Heck told Wired.
So Heck paired an accelerometer with a gyroscope to an Arduino controller, and connected this hardware to a leather glove with conductive threading sewn into the finger tips and palm. Touching a finger to the palm simulates a button push. And by combining the finger buttons with the Arduino-controlled accelerometer, Heck created a gesture-based control system to manipulate the Xbox’s Metro interface and video playback.
While the hardware hack makes for fun video, Heck admits that most of the work on the glove involved programming the accelerometer interface.
The finished glove is an impressive hack and should cut down on arm fatigue associated with navigating the Xbox. Check out all the nerdy goodness of the Xbox “power glove” episode of The Ben Heck Show below.