On December 2, 2011, Microsoft Research Asia held the Kinect for Windows Workshop 2011 in Beijing, China. The event, which drew more than 100 participants, including faculty and students from Chinese universities, provided a forum for exploring research that utilizes Kinect for Windows. It not only offered a great opportunity for faculty members and students to showcase their Kinect-based research and exchange creative ideas, it also fostered enhanced cooperation between Chinese academic institutions and Microsoft Research Asia.
The workshop kicked off with a welcome speech from Baining Guo, assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia. He highlighted Microsoft Research Asia’s contributions in research fields that use Kinect. His speech was followed by a keynote speech from Stewart Tansley, director at Microsoft Research Connections. Tansley shared the latest strategies for and status of Kinect for Windows on a global level.
After opening addresses, the university participants divided into faculty and student groups. The faculty participants heard lectures on Kinect-based research and development from four Microsoft Research Asia researchers: Yichen Wei (Visual Computing Group), Xin Tong (Internet Graphics Group), Sergio Paolantonio (HCI Group), and Frank Soong (Speech Group). These lectures introduced the audience to such research prototypes as the Kinect Identity Project and Kinect-based Object Digitization Project.
In addition, a number of professors shared their own projects, which captured the depth of the innovative research surrounding Kinect. Highlights included presentations by:
Professor Xilin Chen, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who introduced his project, Sign Language Recognition and Translation Based on Kinect, which uses multinational input data for sign recognition. The resulting technology could make it easier for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to communicate, thereby helping them function more effectively in their daily life.
Professor Lianwen Jin, of the South China University of Technology, who demonstrated his project, Writing in the Air by Hand—Recognition of Virtual Handwritten Characters Using Kinect, which aims to develop a Chinese character recognition system for Kinect. The project addresses the broader problem of providing a way for Kinect users to input text, enabling them to do so simply by using hand gestures.
Professor Ligang Liu, of Zhejiang University, who showcased his project, Capturing Human Models Using Multiple Kinects, which uses multiple Kinect units to set up a novel scanning system for capturing three-dimensional (3-D) models of the human body. This research takes advantage of the Kinect sensors—which are designed to facilitate computer-human interaction—to obtain in-depth 3-D data on the entire body, even when the body is in motion. A first possible application could be personal avatars that help users get a good fit for clothing they purchase online.
Researchers from Microsoft Research Asia were actively involved in all three of these projects, demonstrating the robust state of collaboration between Microsoft Research Asia and Chinese academic institutions. Commenting on the importance of such interactive projects, Professor Chen stated, “In the future, when realizing our ideas, we hope to increase our cooperation with Microsoft Research Asia.”
The student group attended a number of sessions tailored specifically for them, including a speech on computer art, delivered by Tsinghua University Professor Yingqing Xu, and an explanation of the operating principles of Kinect, presented by DJ Lan of Microsoft Asia R&D. Two Microsoft Research Asia interns also shared their Kinect application development experience with the student participants and joined them in hands-on projects.
The demo session generated the most excitement, and featured 15 booths of posters, videos, and demo programs for Kinect projects. The booths were organized by professors and students who delivered detailed demonstrations of their projects. The demos attracted many attendees, including Microsoft Research Asia staff members who participated in discussions with professors and students, and were inspired by their innovative ideas.
The workshop also inspired faculty and students, who left with a better understanding of the possibilities for Kinect-based research. In addition, the workshop bolstered opportunities for future collaboration between Microsoft Research Asia and the Chinese academic community. As Lolan Song, the senior director of Microsoft Research Asia observed, “It’s a great opportunity for Microsoft Research Asia to strengthen communication and collaboration with faculty and students. Microsoft Research Asia is committed to exploring more qualified research projects with Chinese universities and academic institutions, as we believe such collaboration will have long-term social benefits.”
—Guobin Wu, Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research Asia