Notions of Motion: Hackers Harness Microsoft's Kinect for Business and Pleasure Applications

Gamers and hackers could control the office as well as games with Microsoft's Kinect

When Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 debuted in November, it offered a revolutionary way to interact with gaming systems, using only bodily motion as the controller. Already a success in the home—Microsoft says it has sold eight million Kinect sensors so far-controllerless computer interfaces could soon move beyond play to help out in the work place, for example, enabling manipulation of digital files using only gestures à la the film Minority Report. Researchers suggest motion controlled computing might one day help make office drudgery as enjoyable as dancing and sports or as relaxing as yoga and tai chi.


"If you can imagine the relief you might feel throwing files into the trash with the Kinect or the interest you feel in lovingly arranging things, you can see how gestures can have an impact on you," says computer and social scientist Katherine Isbister at Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn. "Being able to use more of our physical expressivity could be great."

Isbister and her colleagues are investigating how specific movements trigger certain feelings and thus learn how gesture-based devices such as the Kinect and the Nintendo's Wii can essentially use your body to hack into your brain. A better understanding of what motions trigger which emotions could help make gesture-based computer interfaces more enjoyable.

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