The challenges ahead, Kinect SDK in UK HE

This month has been a very exciting time for Microsoft, the Guinness World Records has added the Kinect for being the fastest-selling electronic device in history. Kinetc has sold an average of 133,333 units per day, giving it a total of eight million units in its first 60 days on sale from 4 November 2010 to 3 January this year.

"The sales figures here speak for themselves," says Gaz Deaves, editor of Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer’s Edition. "We can confirm that no other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span, an incredible achievement considering the strength of the sector." The new record will be included in the next Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition.

A further two million Kinect devices have been sold since the beginning of January - 10 million units in all additionally Microsoft's has also sold over eight million Kinect games. As a result this means that a large number of children are aware of have used the kinect device.

Take a look at this video of how young children are simply using Kinect without any thought or guidance.


There has also been a number of new features for the Xbox this spring, including Kinect-enabled applications allowing users to use hand gestures and their voice to control films on Xbox Live. Also coming this year is Avatar Kinect, allowing players to control their avatar's movements and expressions by smiling, frowning, nodding or speaking. Players can get together with up to seven friends in a range of themed environments.

 What is really exicting from a Academic perspective is that Microsoft has announced that it will release a Kinect for Windows SDK "starter kit" this spring "to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich natural user interfaces" using the motion-sensing device.

"Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us," said Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie when announcing the non-commercial SDK. The non-commercial SDK will "give users access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor." With the release of the SDK we're going to see lots of new ideas and a number of challenges in relation to how technology supports teaching and learning in a more immersive and innovative ways, additionally if you consider the video above of the young children the experience of using this technology will make their lecture standing in front of an Blackboard or interactive whiteboard look very old school.

The following videos are examples of how researchers and developers have integrated a number of applications using Natural User Interfaces and the Kinect devices.





The challenge for you now is how can you use the Kinect SDK in your teaching and learning or research?

So if your interested in the challenge, or have ideas that you would like to share and discuss please do get in contact.



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