Microsoft Home of the Future Doesn’t Always Include Kinect

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Microsoft’s model home of the future is packed with cutting-edge technology, including touch screens, capacitive chargers and completely digital wallpaper. But the living room is still controlled by a crusty old remote control instead of gesture controls like those of Kinect for Xbox 360.

Microsoft posted a partial video tour of the home to its Channel 9 website. Founded in 1994, Microsoft Home is the techie’s equivalent of a concept car, packed with far-out ideas, many of which will never be practical on the market. The entrance to the home, for instance, includes a capacitive charging plate that displays health information, drawn from gadgets like a heartrate-monitoring wrist watch.

When the tour guides get to the living room, viewers are treated to a surprisingly low-tech take on home entertainment. I like the idea of a media hub that draws in music from broadcast, subscription and Internet sources. And I’m impressed with the TV’s ability to scan scenes for contextual information. But I’m a bit disappointed that in the future, we’ll be controlling all of this digital madness with arrow keys on a stick of plastic. Can’t we at least get a Wii-style wand for pointing?

In fairness, Microsoft Home’s bedroom embraces gesture controls. To change the scenery on the digital wallpaper, one of the demonstrators simply pointed a hand at the screen to call up an underwater world populated by giant jellyfish. I want that, right now.

Anyway, Microsoft Home is closed to the public. Your only chance of peering inside are these videos that Microsoft posts on occasion. Hopefully next time they’ll have Kinect technology rigged throughout.

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