Telekinesis, Kinect for Windows style

What science fiction fan doesn’t love the idea of telekinesis? We never tire of the illusion, but there’s nothing illusory about Microsoft tech evangelist Mike Taulty’s ability to move a ball without touching it, using only simple hand gestures.

Mike Tautly controls a Sphero with simple gestures—and a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor.

The ball in question is the Sphero, a clever little robot that is normally controlled via a smartphone or tablet. The “magic” behind Taulty’s handiwork comes courtesy of Kinect for Windows v2, as he explains in the video clip above. By adding Kinect to the equation, Taulty made it possible to control Sphero without the need to use a tablet or smartphone. He created his ball-rolling app to demonstrate the potential of Windows 8.1 apps at the Native Summit conference in London this past September. He tied together the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and the Sphero device with some JavaScript code, and voilà—he could control the rotation of the Sphero with his left hand and its direction of movement with his right.

While Taulty calls his app “hacking for fun,” we see its potential in the real world. Imagine, for instance, how much more engaged a person could be with a digital display in a shopping center or public space if they could manipulate products or objects themselves. Imagine this simple application applied to a museum installation, an advertising display in a retail store, or a gaming arcade. We may not be able to control objects with our minds, but Kinect for Windows gives us the next best thing.

The Kinect for Windows Team

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