Tag Archives: kinect

Playing Catch With Grover Is the Future of Video Gaming

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You would think after 42 seasons, the creative minds behind Sesame Street would run out of ways to educate and entertain kids.

Sesame Workshop has teamed up with Microsoft to create Kinect Sesame Street TV — one of the most innovative children’s video games we’ve seen in a while. With the help of the Microsoft Kinect sensor, it puts kids (and adults) into the game, letting them engage and interact with their favorite characters.

We were immediately impressed with the way the game offers simple instructions to help kids set up their position in front of the Kinect. Cooper, a new furry character on Sesame Street, created digitally just for this season, introduces himself and guides the user as they place themselves in front of a mirror. This is really helpful because kids have a natural tendency to creep closer to the TV as they play and talk to the characters.

And kids will play with them! There are eight interactive games that take kids through everything you would expect from a Sesame Street title. Elmo offers instructions on how to play with him and Paul Ball, another new character.

The characters introduce words; concepts like over and under, numbers, letters, and free play. But this play gets kids up and off the couch.

Our favorite game is playing catch with Grover. Typical Grover, he’s made a mess, dropped all his coconuts and needs help him picking them up. Kids make a throwing motion and toss them back, while he does silly things before catching them and putting them in his box. There’s no winning or losing here. If the child doesn’t respond, Cookie Monster simply comes along and picks up a coconut for Grover.

Elmo’s World is an augmented reality scene where kids are transported to Elmo’s play world, helping him water plants and touch the stars.

Kinect Sesame Street TV is available now on Xbox 360.

Check out the video to see it in action and let us know what you think about video games becoming this interactive. Does this make you more likely to let your kids play?

Photo courtesy of Microsoft.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/18/playing-catch-with-grover-is-the-future-of-video-gaming/

Virtual Reality Remote Controlled Robot Avatar Brushes Cat

After much sweat and toil,  has finally unveiled his complete project. Using a Microsoft Kinect, a Nintendo Wii, a treadmill, and computers, he created a quasi virtual reality remote control robot avatar. To test his project, he successfully brushes a kitty in another room with only virtual reality control.  

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2012/01/04/virtual-reality-remote-controlled-robot-avatar-brushes-cat/

This Is How Microsoft’s Kinect Actually Works

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In 2010, Microsoft unveiled a new Xbox 360 accessory it said would change the way gamers played. The Kinect was the first motion controlled gaming system that didn’t require a controller, instead allowing players to use their whole body to move the game.

While the Nintendo Wii popularized motion controls with its innovative Wii Remotes in 2006, Microsoft planned to take it a step further with the Kinect, originally dubbed Project Natal. The Kinect uses a complicated system of sensors, lasers and cameras to reflect a player’s gestures and actions on screen.

If you’ve ever played a Kinect, that first interaction seems so futuristic. Using your hand as the controller, swinging an imaginary light saber or trying to copy the dance moves of Justin Bieber are just some of the ways the Kinect allows us to play. But how does it work?

A Complicated Camera Setup

If you look at the Kinect, you’ll see that it has three lens areas. These help the Kinect “see” the room you play in. First, there is a regular RGB camera. It simply acts like a basic webcam, and records the room. The Kinect uses this camera any time it displays your image in the game, or for other functions like video chat. According to Microsoft documentation, it captures images around normal video speeds of 30 frames per second, and projects at a 640×480 resolution.

The more complicated camera relies on infrared light to work. One of the lenses on the Kinect is actually an IR emitter, which bathes the play space in light the camera can pick up. Don’t worry; infrared light waves are a totally safe type of radiation. The camera sees these waves as they bounce off people and objects in the room; the brighter the light, the closer the object is. Objects too close to the camera become a little too bright and hard to distinguish, which is why players have to stand more than four feet away from the Kinect sensor bar.

Before, gestural control systems like the Wii were based on the time of flight — how long something takes to return after bouncing off objects in the room. The camera in the Kinect encodes information in that light as it goes out, then measures that degradation over time with the sensor in the Kinect’s Infrared camera.

Smart Software

The data fed in by the camera is instantly processed by some really smart software. It identifies shapes that could be human by heads and limbs, so your Kinect doesn’t think your armchair or your cat are the ones trying to play Dance Central. This software already understands how a human body can move, so it knows your head can’t turn 360 degrees on your neck, and it captures movement through more than 48 points of articulation.

The Kinect software has been programmed with more than 200 possible poses, so it has an idea of where your body is probably going to go, too. This is especially important in two-player games where one player might move in front of the other, or a piece of low furniture might block the camera’s view of your legs. The Kinect software then pairs with the game software to see what pose you are supposed to be creating to do a certain task.

Some of the frustrations people can experience with Kinect games happen here, often because while they may be performing the right action, the camera doesn’t match it to what the game wants, or the game has a very specific parameter of what is correct.

Voice Commands

The Kinect’s other much touted feature is its ability to recognize voice commands. The Kinect has four microphones in its sensor bar to pick up players’ voices, all pointed down to pick up soundwaves more effectively. This large amount of audio equipment allows the Kinect to hear people even when they are several feet away.

Voice commands require calibration so the Kinect knows the general audio levels of your living room. If you ever rearrange your furniture or add carpet, you’ll have to recalibrate because sound bounces around the room differently.

The Kinect still has its flaws, but as the first peripheral to offer motion controls without a controller as well as sophisticated voice controls for gaming, it’s the first step into a new realm for video games. Microsoft has also made the API available to the public, opening larger possibilities up to any developer who wants to explore motion controls.

BONUS: 7 Awesome Kinect Concepts

Nerds Make Real Working Gmail Motion

For fun, Google made an April Fools video about their new (fake) application called Gmail Motion. Basically, using motion sensing to operate email. It was all fun and games, until the nerds at University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies saw the video and made their own functioning Gmail Motion. I think job offerings are in order Google.


Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2011/04/02/nerds-make-real-working-gmail-motion/