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Paracetamol-induced musings on the Microsoft #Kinect #uoltech

February 23, 2012

No better time to reflect than when you’re quite full of Paracetamol, wouldn’t you say? – I mean, what else is there?… It’s a less than charming situation, one in which I kind of wish I could just talk to my house and it would make me cups of tea or it would allow me to wave my hands around to get stuff… which reminds me that I never got round to talking about the session I did on Kinect at ALT-C 2011. Following the session, through the magic of Twitter, I got introduced to one of the Microsoft guys on the road talking about Kinect and then went down to London to FOTE11 for a chat- excellent bloke! I felt a little like a DJ: three machines, two of them set up with Kinect drivers (one with the official SDK, one with the open source one – I loved his face when I told him that, but he was actually very cool about it eventually ;)).

    • I started off with waving my hands to drive the presentation below using the Nuxiva StagePresence application on a Win 7 machine connected to a Kinect.
    • Then I switched to annotate verbally a whole bunch of videos on clever uses of Kinect by even more clever people from around the world.
    • Finally, I ended on a quiz created by Ray Chambers which I had hacked in my childish way. Such fun 🙂

What did I learn in the process?

  • first of all, that the Kinect microphone array is truly spectacular – I tested it with Adobe Connect Pro and it was loud and clear at all times, although I was walking around a room quite a bit (not a huge room, I know, but still a very good result).
  • secondly, that the Windows 7 built-in voice recognition is a serious contender to other software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. Since then, I’ve played with the Google Android speech recognition and I can’t say I’m blown over… not horrible, though – it got me on Amazon UK pretty fast today to see where on earth was my copy of Bounce.
  • thirdly, that with the best will in the world, not even can help you learn C++ programming in one night (not that anyone sensible was ever under this impression… what does that tell you about me, though? :))

What’s next?

  • I for one am still waiting for the Razorfish DaVinci Kinect so that I can project it in a public space and see how people play with it
  • I am also quite curious to see where all the excitement has gone: either people are hard at work coding (I know a few universities in the UK, including my own, have courses on which students write applications for the Kinect, and in that respect, the Microsoft Imagine Cup is a great initiative), or they got side-tracked by all the “how do I use iPads in education?” discussions which someone always feels the need to restart pretty much every other week…
  • another good idea is to drop in regularly on the Coding4Fun Kinect space and OpenKinect, and see what these guys are up to…
  • get back to my Paracetamol and keep asking myself why do I feel that Microsoft are now the good guys and Apple are rather the opposite… Is it because of the super funny Clippy that I feel this way?
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