Now that Kinect hardware is available for Windows, app developers can get busy bringing voice and motion control to desktop PCs. Microsoft is already working on Kinect Windows apps with hundreds of partners, including American Express, Mattel and Toyota, but it’ll probably be a while before a solid number of apps are available for consumers.
(VIDEO: How Kinect Works)
In the meantime, let’s dream up the kinds of things we’d like to do with Kinect for Windows.
Here’s my wish list:
Pay and Login By Face
I’m sick of proving who I am to a computer by entering obscure strings of letters and numbers, all of which could be stolen by a hacker anyway. Let’s see a browser extension that lets users log in to websites and enter credit card payment information just by staring into the Kinect camera.
Say you’re slacking off at work–for instance, by reading random articles on the Internet–and your boss walks in. Unless your boss is standing on the opposite side of your computer, it’s already too late to hide what you’re doing. A boss detector Kinect app could be your extra set of eyes, scanning the cubicle entrance for new presences and automatically hiding your procrastination tool of choice when someone enters. Imagine how efficient you’d be at not getting any work done.
In theory, my Tempur-pedic desk chair is great for my back. The problem is that as the day progresses, I slump, hunch and lean in ways that can’t be healthy, often without thinking about it. Kinect’s camera has skeletal tracking capabilities, so I’d love to see an app that monitors posture, detects when the user is sitting properly and provides occasional reminders not to slouch.
3D Object Scanner and Viewer
With all the phones, tablets and other gadgets that pass through my office, it’d be cool to scan 3D models in with Kinect and allow readers to inspect new tech toys from all angles. Microsoft has already created something like this, with the Build a Buddy app on Xbox 360. All we need is a more practical version for scanning in the front, back and sides of a device, along with a way to share those models online.
Let’s not forget that Kinect has voice recognition as well. That could be useful for quickly opening programs that are buried beneath layers of menus, or for queuing up some music without stopping what you’re doing. I’ll be surprised if Microsoft doesn’t eventually build this feature into Windows, but I’d like to see a third-party solution come along in the meantime.