From the MVPs: Unleash the power of Kinect and your imagination

Here’s the 12th post in our series of guest posts by Microsoft Most Valued Professionals (MVPs). Since the early 1990s, Microsoft has recognized technology champions around the world with the MVP Award. MVPs freely share their deep knowledge, real-world experience, and impartial and objective feedback to help people enhance the way they use technology. Of the millions of individuals who participate in technology communities, around 4,000 are recognized as Microsoft MVPs.

This post is by Miguel Carrasco, who is an Expression Blend MVP. His site is

When Kinect was launched in November of 2010, it seemed like a device from the future had finally landed in the laps of consumers. Originally touted as a gaming device, the industry quickly started to realize that the Kinect was much more than a gamer’s device.

I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, and spend a lot of my time at Imaginet working with the latest and greatest technologies and software Microsoft brings to the table. We instantly bought a few Kinect devices and begin doing research and development. Today I want to briefly show you real-world examples of using the Kinect outside of gaming with: voice recognition, gesture recognition, and even data and video capture for use with building projections.

Kinect-powered phone conversations

We quickly realized that simply plugging in the Kinect to a computer and download the Kinect for Windows SDK, we could do a number of very interesting things with the Kinect. We asked ourselves a simple question. How could we integrate the Lync SDK with the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK to create some new and interesting human computer interaction scenarios?

While the gesture recognition was fun, we wanted to take it a step further. How could we make it easier for the visually impaired to have Lync conversations on their computers, using the power of Kinect?

Kinect allowed us to provide a whole new way of communicating and talking to our computer. The speech recognition is incredible and improving every day.

Kinect-powered building projections

Next, I met an interesting individual, Meghan Athavale, who was using the Kinect to “teleport” people onto buildings. Her company Po-Mo Inc. is a perfect example of how merging amazing technology and brilliant creative talent can create something magical. Her team worked on some software that turns any surface into an interactive display and then takes information being fed to into the Kinect to map people’s images right onto a physical building. Check out the video.

Final thoughts

I hope this blog post and these videos have inspired you to think outside the box and come up with some new and inventive ways to take your ideas and make them a reality. There has never been a better time to create things that seem “out of this world.” Companies like Microsoft are leading the way in innovation and technology and bringing things to market that the everyday consumer can purchase, bring home, and play around with to create magic. Feel free to download the Microsoft  Kinect for Windows SDK or the Microsoft Lync SDK and start creating your own unique applications nobody has ever heard of.

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