The Microsoft Kinect motion sensing peripheral for Xbox 360 has long been a hacker’s plaything, and recently, Microsoft got in on the game too, releasing an SDK for coders to do what they will with it.
But did you know Microsoft itself is pitching Kinect as a next-gen solution for hospitals? Yup. Here’s how it thinks it’ll work.
Microsoft research and strategy chief Craig Mundie showed this week at a conference in Seattle how Kinect video conferencing with Xbox avatars, a feature coming to the console in the next few weeks, could in fact be used to monitor the expressions and reactions of patients in a hypothetical diabetes support group.
Microsoft’s idea, you see, is that video conferencing this way would allow for observers to go back and analyse the scene from different angles. Where typically there would be one camera focusing on the person speaking, instead, you could watch everyone’s reactions too. It’s a psychologist’s dream, so long as the avatar’s expressions are accurate – and Mundie thinks they are.
“If you get the animation of the eyes, eyebrows, face and mouth nominally correct, most of the major human emotions are accurately portrayed,” he said. “You get a huge amount of cues even though you’re looking at their cartoon characters.”
Mundie reportedly made no mention of when this technology might be rolled out in healthcare, butter it’s an intriguing new use for a technology currently reserved for (if admittedly fun) children’s games.
Of course, Microsoft isn’t alone in trying to use the power of Kinect in hospitals. See for yourself in the video below…