Microsoft strategy chief Craig Mundie recently demonstrated the Kinect’s upcoming “Avatar Kinect” conferencing feature to health care officials, with the hopes of introducing a new avenue for the technology.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has been looking for ways to bring the Kinect technology out of the gaming market, and this planned foray into health care, with the purpose of hosting virtual clinics and therapy sessions, is their boldest move yet.
The technology that was demonstrated was based off of the upcoming conferencing technology, but with several advanced features.
Using the Kinect’s motion sensor, camera and microphone, the technology is able to capture a person and render them in 3D. Mundie stressed that the technology focuses on eyes, eyebrows, mouth and some facial muscles in order to capture most expressions. As well, arms and upper bodies are also featured in the final rendering, which looks a bit like an odd mix of Saturday morning cartoons and A Scanner Darkly.
The technology offers numerous perks that Microsoft hopes health care officials seize on to. For one, through multiple Kinect devices, multiple users can all attend the same virtual session without even having to be at the same location. As well, when replaying a session, a user can access multiple points of view, or navigate the scene through a free floating 3D camera.
The current Avatar conferencing technology is expected to be released at some point this Summer, mum on the eventual release of the health care conferencing.
For other interesting Kinect innovations, be sure to read Animated Sign Language Interpreters to Help during Disasters and Create Amazing Music Using Your Body via Synapse for Kinect.