Gesture recognition has long been the favored interface for Hollywood science fiction movies but recent developments have made this technology a reality.  Microsoft released the Kinect, a motion capturing interface device for its Xbox gaming system less than a year ago but already have plans to use the same technology beyond gaming.

Originally, Microsoft had plans to use the Kinect with the healthcare industry.  Because the Kinect tracks body movements it becomes possible to manipulate three-dimensional objects in real time through hand movements.  This capability makes it ideal to view renders of MRIs and other body scans.

Now it appears that Microsoft is looking past the health care industry and wants to apply this same technology to everyone.  The idea is that dynamic gestures could be used to navigate business applications for use with presentations and demonstrations when having a mouse is not ideal.  Microsoft’s Dynamics MVP recently had this to say on his blog in regards to the program:

“(E)arlier this year, I saw Business Analyzer (Available with Dynamics GP 2010 R2), and how it let you add beautiful KPIs (key performance indicators), Charts and Graphs to your personal dashboard. What if we let people navigate Business Analyzer with their gestures. That seemed like a good fit – and could be used in meetings!

“Microsoft has done a great job with the Kinect SDK and the Kinect ToolBox. Using the two I was able to track 4 gestures, and then send commands to Business Analyzer to navigate through the reports.”

The potential of the Kinect is definitely intriguing but I wonder how willing users would be to accept such a change in input devices.  I’ve also heard that the current consumer grade Kinect suffers from input latency and can experience problems based on lighting conditions.  Regardless, it will be interesting to see what Microsoft comes up with and even more interesting to see if the general public will embrace it.

Do you have experience with the Kinect?  Know of a program in the business world that would benefit from this technology?  Let us know!

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department