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Nov. 24, 2010

Kinect: Score One For Microsoft

by Ira Flatow

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Microsoft’s new Xbox gaming hardware, Kinect, scored unexpected points when their spokespeople said on Science Friday that “no one was going to get into trouble” writing open source software drivers for Kinect because the Kinect connection port was “left open by design.”
 
I was a bit surprised, myself, to hear that from Microsoft’s Shannon Loftis and Alex Kipman when I interviewed them. And made sure that I understood, clearly, what they said. So when I asked “So no one is going to get in trouble?” The replies wer: “(Kipman:) Nope. Absolutely not. (Loftis:) No”. (You can download the whole interview on iTunes.
 
NYU media professor, also a guest, Katherine Isbister was already complementing Microsoft for its good judgement.
‘As an experienced creator, I’m very excited to see that people are so inspired that it was less than a week after the Kinect came out before they had started creating and thinking about what they could do,” she said.
 
Of course Microsoft was quick to point out that the real “magic” that occurs to make the Kinect’s unique 3-D imaging work lies inside the Xbox, which has not been left open to the public. But it is interesting to realize that Microsoft has chosen to leave open the eyes and ears of its interface to allow anyone to develop unique products using the Kinect. And those ideas are now flowing in. Why limit hand and body movements to a game console? Why not make a “Minority Report” type interface for your computer’s desktop? No need to touch your mouse. Just wave your hand. Tweak your nose?
Score one for Microsoft.
About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Science Friday® and SciFri® are registered service marks of Science Friday, Inc. Site design by Pentagram; engineering by Mediapolis.

 

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