Kinect Hack Shows How You'll Wave at Your PC in Five Years

Kinect NUI

Kinect hacks are often impressive, revealing how powerful the Microsoft device actually is. A new one that combines 3-D modeling, data gloves, and gesture control, hints at how you may control your PC in the near future.

Hacker Sebastian was trying to explore how a functional man-machine interface could be made with Kinect—a more "scientific" kind of hack than some of the fun and arty ones we've seen, and mirroring all sorts of million-dollar research that companies like Microsoft are themselves exploring (because more natural ways of interacting with PCs are definitely on the horizon). Frustrated by some early attempts to hook up a Kinect, open source Kinect hacking software, and some 3-D graphics rendering code, he realized the situation needed a hardware hack, too. And what other gizmo fits with 3-D hand gesture control of a PC? Yup, data gloves...

Sebastian's efforts resulted in a powerful data-glove and gesture-control interface that lets him interact with virtual objects in what seems to be a completely sensible way, since his hands are detected in 3-D by the Kinect, and mapped into the 3-D space of the objects he's editing. The Arduino-powered data gloves let him tap fingers to control some features of his software—like a virtual mouse click—because the Kinect didn't have enough finesse to detect precise finger gestures.

In just a handful of years, we can probably expect a cleverer Kinect to surface, from MS or another manufacturer, and it probably will be able to detect really fine motor gestures without the need for data gloves. Then controlling your PC to do any number of tasks, from 3-D graphics rendering to gaming, really will be child's play.

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