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Kinect Creators To Make PC Controller 96

Posted by Soulskill
from the platform-agnostic-arm-flailing dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PrimeSense, the privately held Israeli company that licensed core Kinect technology to Microsoft, is teaming up with PC and peripheral maker Asus to create a similar device for the PC that can be used for browsing multimedia content and accessing the Internet and social networks — basically, the main things consumers use their PCs for. Last month, a Korean game developer claimed that Microsoft was working on a version of Kinect for the PC, but Microsoft hasn't confirmed any such plans."
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Kinect Creators To Make PC Controller

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  • Sounds like a precursor to Minority Report-like technology. Like we haven't heard *that* song and dance umpteen times before. Still, it sounds neat. And expensive. Damn student salary.

    • by Peeteriz (821290)

      If they port the software and allow the same Kinect sensors to be used, then riding on the xbox mass production the price might be below $99 in a year - not that expensive at all compared to other gadgets.

      • by monkyyy (1901940)

        and considering xbox wireless cards are 50+ dollars and pc some where in 20s(15 if ur lucky)
        100 dollars seems like it will be a high estimate

    • by geekoid (135745)

      precursor? it's ALREADY better then the tech shown in Minority Report. For example, you don't need gloves.

  • I'm just hoping it doesn't get railroaded by ms or something else.
    • by c0lo (1497653) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @12:38AM (#34750906)

      ....or something else.

      Linux drivers would be desirable.

      • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

        There have been Linux drivers for the kinect since the first day it was opened up, where have you been?

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          There have been Linux drivers for the kinect since the first day it was opened up...

          For a device yet to be adapted for PC-es? Got that time machine primed already?

          • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

            "Drivers and libraries for the Xbox Kinect device on WIndows, Linux, and OS X" [github.com]

            Linux drivers for the device itself have been available the entire time (since it was 'hacked'). You are completely free to use that to make whatever style of HID you wish.

            • by c0lo (1497653)

              "Drivers and libraries for the Xbox Kinect device on WIndows, Linux, and OS X" [github.com]

              Linux drivers for the device itself have been available the entire time (since it was 'hacked'). You are completely free to use that to make whatever style of HID you wish.

              Informative... but...
              those are the drivers for MS incarnation of Kinect Core. Are you sure the Asus incarnation will use the same encoding/protocol? Are you sure it will be equally easy to break by RE?

              • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

                Even if the Asus version will be dramatically different, which is highly doubtable, it likely won't make and difference. There isn't much reason to think the second won't fall as easy as the first.

              • by Asic Eng (193332)
                Asus has absolutely nothing to gain by locking out Linux - they don't profit from Microsoft Xbox or OS sales. MS doesn't want the Kinect hardware to be used on anything but the Xbox 360 - they won't even like the Asus hardware to work with Windows.

                For MS it makes perfect sense to put up roadblocks for driver development. Asus on the other hand, might not particularly care about Linux but they have no motivation to make it hard for someone to write Linux drivers.

        • by monkyyy (1901940)

          they may try locking up the (cheaper) pc compatible version tho
          no big software comp. has started messing with the kinect for pc yet so no software to break; i.e. no extra reason to not lock it up

    • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      Who gives a shit if they "allow" it? The cat is out of the bag, they had their chance to try to 'secure' the device and they blew it.

      • Lol. They didn't blow anything. They did not try to secure the device, obviously. There's no encryption or anything "difficult" about using the Kinect device itself.
    • Owner of technology is is PrimeSense [primesense.com]
  • Room size (Score:2, Informative)

    by msobkow (48369)

    As interesting as a Kinect-style device for my PC sounds, it just ain't gonna work. You need a room about 4 times the size of my living room to use the things.

    I want something that'll scan gestures from a chair position, not an across-the-room position.

    • They don't expect the users to stand in front of their 22" screen, they'll just keep the stupid wave of the hand and air slapping to browse the virtual libraries.
    • by babyrat (314371)

      Why do you think they can't and won't tweak the technology to scan gestures from a chair position?

      They do have these things called wide angle lenses.

       

    • by binarylarry (1338699) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:08AM (#34751024)

      WRONG.

      This will be the sweetest innovation since the cuecat or the powerglove.

      • WRONG.

        This will be the sweetest innovation since the cuecat or the powerglove.

        How could they possibly expect to top the powerglove?
        "It's so bad..."

    • by S3D (745318)
      PrimeSense/KInect tech is scalable. With different camera lens and different lens for laser it can work in range suitable for PC/Laptop or smartphone.
    • Re:Room size (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cawpin (875453) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @03:32AM (#34751734)

      You need a room about 4 times the size of my living room to use the things.

      Is your living room a closet? I don't have much space in front of my TV (about 8 feet wide by 8-9 feet deep) and the Kinect works just fine. I don't even use all of that space.

      • You're missing the point. You sit in front of a computer, typically at a distance of less than 1m. You sit maybe 2-2.5m away from your TV screen when using your console, as your TV is usually a lot larger than your monitor, your monitor shows more information in a smaller space due to your proximity to it.

        Go get a wireless keyboard, sit on your sofa, and load up your email client on your TV at max supported resolution. Tell me how long it takes for you to learn forward, or simply stand up and walk over to
        • You sit in front of a computer, typically at a distance of less than 1m. You sit maybe 2-2.5m away from your TV screen when using your console

          You forgot home theater PCs. These look like consoles, and they play video on a TV like consoles, but they have PC hardware inside and run a PC OS so that the user doesn't have to use fragile, legally questionable jailbreaks just to go beyond what the manufacturer wants him to do with the hardware. But I'll grant that they aren't common... yet.

          • I use one at home; MythTV. I still won't use motion gestures for that kind of thing; Picking up a drink from the table could end up pausing recording, or swapping channel, or anything.

            In fact, the only gesture I would have programmed in for such a device is standing / sitting, and that would pause / resume whatever was being watched at the time. That would still irritate the hell out of anyone you were watching a film with, though.
            • One could, of course, use an unlock gesture to start further gesture commands. For example, waving your hand twice over your head or something. Sure, you could still have accidents but you can also sit on your remote control and have it stop your movie or skip to the end.
            • by Kelbear (870538)

              The way the Kinect system menu works is that you do a specific arcing "hello"-style wave from one side of the body to the other to get a lock on your hand. It's never picked me up accidentally.

              It definitely "sees" you do all those things, but until you begin with the recognition gesture, it won't respond to any of those things. In a specific game, Kinect Sports, it asks you to raise a hand over your head if you want to be recognized as the primary operator. In other games like Dance Central where players ho

            • by BobMcD (601576)

              I use one at home; MythTV. I still won't use motion gestures for that kind of thing; Picking up a drink from the table could end up pausing recording, or swapping channel, or anything.

              As others have said, you 'd use an unlock. Voice commands are an option not mentioned for this - clapping hands or snapping fingers would work as well.

              I could readily see this for modifying the volume. Since Myth never found the motivation to implement SmartSound, you could save finding where the remote actually got placed with gestures. Kind of like a concert conductor for your TV. Raise one hand up in the air, snap your fingers and the volume would track your hand's elevation. Snap again and it stops

        • Go get a wireless keyboard, sit on your sofa, and load up your email client on your TV at max supported resolution. Tell me how long it takes for you to learn forward, or simply stand up and walk over to read stuff.

          I do. Gmail. I just use ctrl+ (zoom in, in a lot of applications) a lot. Also I changed the DPI settings, to make everything more readable. I read cheeseburger network sites and mail while lying on my couch.
          The main problem I have is with building a playlist in Winamp, can't zoom that in really good so I have to stand up and build it.
          Then again: that and viewing dvd's is about the only thing I do on the system, so this may or may not be valid for you.

      • by slyrat (1143997)

        You need a room about 4 times the size of my living room to use the things.

        Is your living room a closet? I don't have much space in front of my TV (about 8 feet wide by 8-9 feet deep) and the Kinect works just fine. I don't even use all of that space.

        The thing is that a lot of people that play games on their tv don't have this kind of room. The distance for my tv to couch is only 5ft or so. A lot of people in apartments are in the same boat and so there is a large number of people that this just doesn't work well with.

    • by citizenr (871508)

      As interesting as a Kinect-style device for my PC sounds, it just ain't gonna work. You need a room about 4 times the size of my living room to use the things.

      I want something that'll scan gestures from a chair position, not an across-the-room position.

      clueless
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgLp-KyK5g8 [youtube.com]

    • by xded (1046894)

      Just use optics. Kinect is just a LIDAR, no reason why the thing couldn't be adapted for different ranges (except for price, maybe).

      Actually I'm quite surprised nobody has already tired it. But I often foget this is the digital era, things are now done just by pushing buttons...

      • by delinear (991444)
        It was kind of tried with touch screens but ruled out because it was too uncomfortable [wikipedia.org]. Removing the need for physical contact with the screen might alleviate the problem (you at least have some dynamic range of movement and holding your hands closer to your body probably reduces the effect) but I can't imagine it will completely rule it out. For short, fun applications like games this is fine, you can always take a break if it becomes a problem. I can't imagine wanting to work at such a system for 8 hours,
        • by BobMcD (601576)

          One thing that the Kinect already does, though, is adapt for the size of the person doing the gestures. It sees my son's reach as equivalent to my own, even though I have three feet on him. This would seem to lend towards more comfort from the 'one-size-fits-all' perspective wherein it is actually true.

        • It would also open up possibilities for a toilet computer (Pleestation, for the dutch). No way I would want to have a computer there that you'd have to touch, but a touchless interface would be possible (althoug undesirable).
          btw: I am not responsible for all the twitterers who would describe every detail of the process:
          Starting to poop
          Halfway there
          Ah, done
          grabbing first piece of toilet paper
          Need another one
          This paper is almost clean
          Grabbing another one
          Yaay, completely clean
          Pulling up pants
          Shit broke my n
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Really? are you stupid or trolling? DO you think they wouldn't make changes for closer use?

      gah, you people piss me off.

    • by Xest (935314)

      "As interesting as a Kinect-style device for my PC sounds, it just ain't gonna work. You need a room about 4 times the size of my living room to use the things."

      Apart from the fact that's a gross exageration (well, unless your living room really is only 2m x 2m in size) I think the thing to realise is that Kinect needs space because it's used for full body tracking. If you just wanted a system that tracks hand and finger movement then you don't need all that space. The space requirement of Kinect is almost

  • by Konster (252488) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @12:32AM (#34750862)

    This is good news, now my wrists will get a different type of workout than they normally get when I use a PC.

  • Porn game (Score:3, Funny)

    by Octopuscabbage (1932234) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @12:36AM (#34750886)
    Sounds like that porn game is actually going to get developed now.
  • by Lanteran (1883836) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @12:37AM (#34750896) Homepage Journal
    "For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive — you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program."
  • The tech will be handy, but until you don't need to *ask* if it's included on your next bargain PC's purchase (like we expect ballmice, and now laser mice) it will be an expensive extra purchase. Not every tech gets ported even if it IS wildly useful. Exhibit a) Smartphone Touch screens.

    • by BobMcD (601576)

      So your insights are 'new technology is not automatically ubiquitous' and 'things not included are not free'?

  • all they had to say was "teaming with asus". i am a total asus fanboy

  • i see this going two ways

    1) they lock it up, so linux doesnt get it easily, i.e. most of programers hate the thing, its stays costly and without mircosofts ad budget falls flat

    2)they leave it open and its awesome, tho only linux users will have a descent ui for a while followed by smart phones then macs after a few months; then windows gets it and some knock off brand makes it super cheap but then the asus will have the high quality high cost ones and get rich still and they airnt hated by everyone

    • by gparent (1242548)
      What kind of world do you live in where programmers hate a device because it's only supported on the OS that nearly everyone uses? And where Windows gets last priority treatment from ASUS? What the fuck?
      • by monkyyy (1901940)

        i should probaly explain the reasons why a bit better :/

        the programmers of the first GOOD ui will be linux users because they choose power over usability and this will not be very usable till some programmers want to use it on their own systems, as anyone else programing it will be copying and pasting basic ideas from mouse and touchscreen controls and making a (very) awkward mouse mixed with a less accurate touch screen

        then quickly after that apple and smart phones would copy what when well, then windows(d

        • the programmers of the first GOOD ui will be linux users because they choose power over usability

          Um...usability is what makes a UI good in the first place, not power. Take *nix for example. The command line is far more 'powerful' than any of the graphical UI's, yet the latter are far more 'usable' to the average user.

          You've got it backwards.

          • by monkyyy (1901940)

            no a good ui comes with power and usability, just cause everyone can use it doesnt mean its any good, see: old cable boxes, and clippy

            the first ui by asus will be every usable(eye candy to) but basically powerless and the first by the linux community will be powerful and un-user-friendly but the linux community has more people, more input, access to the source code to the existing ui they are building on top of, asus will not be keeping up

            • If they have brains, which I suspect they have, they will start with the gesture interfaces (irritating with a mouse, perfect for this), a swipe like keyboard and hotkey support (also gesture based). That will be usable.
              However Asus will want to make money on the hardware and thus they will probably allow other programs to read the data. That will allow other programs to use it like a mouse and soon the thing will be integrated into screens.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:10AM (#34751038) Homepage Journal
    Oh great, here come the 324503475234 slashbots clamoring for a "Minority Report" style user interface. (It looks cool when you see it in the movies for a minute or two, but try spending all day every day waving your arms around to browse the web and shuffle your spreadsheets. Your tired arms will be reaching for that mouse real quick.)
    • it will get Americans to get some extra exercise. Everyone is gonna have better looking shoulders in no time!
    • by Machtyn (759119)
      I played the Kinect for the first time the other day. My arm was good and sore, but not in the good way. In my opinion, a person needs some resistance, pressure, some sort of feedback when performing actions. I eventually picked up a Wii-mote so that I could have something to hold similar to a javelin, paddle, or whatever it was I was supposed to be holding to the play the game.

      There was another ball game, place your body in front of the ball to make sure it doesn't get past you and returns to knock b
  • For games, maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saikou (211301) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @01:13AM (#34751058) Homepage

    And a bit of an occasional gesture.
    If someone suggest the "minority report-style controls" do a simple experiment:
    Stand in front of the mirror and do:
    - "file moving" (grand gesture - one side to the other)
    - "resizing" (grabing and stretching wide)
    - "turning and button pushing" (poking at the different spots of the mirror)

    Now repeat for 20 minutes. What are you saying? Your arms are kinda tired? Well duh.
    Gestures without a surface to put your arms on are exhausting and hard, especially if you have to do it non-stop for a long period of time.
    It may improve your physique eventually (giant strong arms, tiny legs from sitting in the chair)

    Occasional gestures are fine. Say, silence alarm by "batting it away" or switch from one screen set to the other with rotational gesture. But for most activities - get a good hand rest, or touch-surface, or a mouse :)

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Now repeat for 20 minutes. What are you saying? Your arms are kinda tired? Well duh.

      Yes, is almost like playing tennis - you have to swing hard with both of your arms every 2-4 seconds, NO ONE could do it.

      • by delinear (991444)
        The point is, playing tennis for 20 minutes is a good workout and should leave you feeling tired. If using your PC has the same effect, how are you going to keep that up for the remaining 7 hours at work, five days a week? In other words, exactly as GP said - fun for games and useful for occasional gestures but you wouldn't want it as your primary input device unless you rarely use the computer.
        • Gee, I don't know. Wouldn't it be a major boon in a way. I mean, nerd obesity isn't on the same level as malaria in Africa, but the fact that computers take so little physical movement is actually a major problem with them.

          Would I be able to start off at 8 hrs a day using hand gestures exclusively? Of course not, but wouldn't that transform the image of a nerd if they had the physical stamina to gesture for so long? Really, it's not so different than doing Tai Chi every day at work. If I were an employer I

    • by fleeped (1945926)

      . Say, silence alarm by "batting it away"

      I'd like to see how that would work with flies flying around you in the summer

    • It would be great for media players, no more "Where did I live the remote?". Also for kioskies, no defective touch screens. There are probably a lot of other uses around, that we just didn't see yet because we don't have the (cheap) device. Maybe some of those uses are even for desktop computers, as you said, a bit of occasional gesture.

      It doesn't look for me that it will be a failure. It only probably won't be on every house.

    • I don't care if my arms hurt or the novelty wears off pretty quickly - ever since seeing Minority Report I've wanted to control my computers like that and I _will_ buy one...
    • by brkello (642429)

      Of course, no one ever said these "screens" couldn't also have a keyboard and a mouse and that you only do certain activities with your hands up in the air. There may be certain functionality that would be more efficient doing it in this manner. It would also make sense for presenting or for interactive learning. Just not for day to day work tasks on the computer.

  • Why create a similar device when all you need are windows drivers for the existing Kinect?

  • Personally among other uses, I look forward to this replacing devices like TrackIR -- no more goofy hat or other head gear required.
  • by SolarStorm (991940) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @09:18AM (#34752896)
    Just think of what this could mean to a handicapped person! Clunky interfaces can no be replaced with gestures! Having helped a couple of handicapped users, this is a dream come true.
  • this whole gesture based interface is great but what we really want is Rommie (CR GR:ANDROMEDA) now that would get all of us going.

  • Could be pretty interesting for 3D interactive worlds; these type of worlds have always been far more successful on the PC. Those static/boring standing/dancing animations 3d characters currently have could be a thing of the past. Interaction between avatars could be a bit more "real" with something like this. It certainly is no "Lawnmower Man" hardware however it's an interesting step for metaverses and MMORPGs. Granted, the amount of space (if based on Kinect specs) you would need for your computer st

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