Ronnie05's Blog

Microsoft brings Gesture Control to Windows and XBox

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on July 17, 2009

Microsoft has been working on gesture recognition as extension on Microsoft gaming console Xbox. The integration of gesture recognition in its gaming console has been named Project Natal. Depth-sensing cameras such as the one Microsoft is adding to the Xbox allow people to control their PCs, game devices, and televisions. Now Microsoft wants to bring Project Natal and its technology to Windows.


Depth camera would connect up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication. This was first conceptualized and developed by Microsoft research and is now being commercialized by both the Xbox and Windows units. The Xbox guys and the Windows guys have now latched onto the idea and Microsoft expects the office applications (coupled with Depth sensing camera) can be quite exciting.

In an interview to CNet, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, “Using your body to control devices makes a lot of sense. I think the value is as great for if you’re in the home, as you want to manage your movies, music, home system type stuff, it’s very cool there. And I think there’s incredible value as we use that in the office connected to a Windows PC. So Microsoft research and the product groups have a lot going on there, because you can use the cost reduction that will take place over the years to say, why that shouldn’t be in most office environments.”

Gates actually dropped the first hint of Natal during his joint appearance with Steve Jobs at the D: All Things Digital conference in 2007

“Imagine a game machine where you’re just going to pick up the bat and swing it, or the tennis racket and swing it,” Gates said.

Moderators Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher mocked Gates, saying such a technology already exists and it’s called the Wii. But Gates disagreed. “No, that’s not it. You can’t pick up your tennis racket.”

He later added, “You can’t sit there with your friends and do those natural things,” he said. “That’s a 3D positional device. This is video recognition. This is a camera seeing what’s going on.”

However, there are doubts about Microsoft’s ability to execute such futuristic moves. It was about 10 years earlier that Microsoft had promised voice controlled computers. 10 years and few many generations of processors later, Microsoft has been no-where close to pioneer voice recognition as an input to computing devices. (It would have put some distance between itself and competitors if it would have executed this strategy). Instead all it has done is to release “delta development” versions, which has left it vulnerable to more innovative competitors.


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  1. […] : "_post_1954", "permalink" : "" } Microsoft Project Natal finally sees the light of the day November 4th 2010 and it has a new name: Kinect. This is a part […]

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