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Hardware Hacking Input Devices Medicine Microsoft XBox (Games) Games Build

Kinect Used To Help the Visually Impaired 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the kitchen-sink-peripherals dept.
Zothecula writes "The decidedly low tech white cane is still one of the most commonly used tools to help the visually impaired get around without bumping into things. Now, through their project called NAVI (Navigation Aids for the Visually Impaired), students at Germany's Universität Konstanz have leveraged the 3D imaging capabilities of Microsoft's Kinect camera to detect objects that lie outside a cane's small radius and alert the wearer to the location of obstacles through audio and vibro-tactile feedback." In addition, Kinect is being used to "manipulate medical images during surgery without having to leave the operating room and scrub back in," and in more artistic ways as well.
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Kinect Used To Help the Visually Impaired

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  • Kinect (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maroberts (15852)
    Should be able to manipulate images like in Minority Report with it. Does seem to be one device from Microsoft that it is hard to criticize. If only their mobile phones were as innovative....
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by binarylarry (1338699)

      All microsoft did was license the Kinect and it's software from PrimeSense and slap a badge on it.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        I know it's just a rendering...
        http://www.primesense.com/?p=487 [primesense.com] ...but why is the Kinect so much larger than their reference design?

        • Re:Kinect (Score:5, Informative)

          by somersault (912633) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @07:28AM (#35596870) Homepage Journal

          I think the "multi array mic" and motorised tilt [gamesforkinect.org] must account for the extra space. You'd want decent separation between the mics at least if you're going to use them for position prediction.

        • by citizenr (871508)

          I know it's just a rendering...
          http://www.primesense.com/?p=487 [primesense.com] ...but why is the Kinect so much larger than their reference design?

          4 microphones array for audio 3d localization

        • It could also be that the reference design is a bit... optimistic... about thermals(or case in that render is supposed to be 3/4 cm of solid aluminum...) It is possible that MS was just jumpy after the RROD incidents; but I'm guessing that they didn't add some extra volume and a fan just because they really wanted some moving parts and a higher BOM cost.

          Apparently the laser dot-pattern projector unit even has a peltier element(according to iFixit's teardown). That means both higher costs and nontrivially
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I love how quick you are to say that, as if it mattered at all. That's...offtopic at best. A special variety of flamebait where you try to shut down any hint of non-criticism for Microsoft. PrimeSense deserves credit, but you only gave them credit incidentally in your mission to remove credit from Microsoft.

        It's like somebody said Firefox was a good product from Mozilla, and you replied "all Mozilla did was license (via GPL) Netscape and slap an icon on it". Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with Fire

        • Uh, Firefox was built more or less from the ground up. You might recall that the Mozilla Foundation used to have a browser actually called "Mozilla" ... that was the rebranding of Netscape. Firefox is completely different from Netscape.
    • The hardware(though apparently not the supporting software used on the XB360) is basically pure Primesense [primesense.com]. However, given the 'you-have-to-ask-and-don't-want-to-know' pricing of previous Primesense-based products, it was quite nice of Microsoft to deliver the first one priced for the mass market...
    • by tom229 (1640685)
      Aww... I wanted to have the first minority report reference!
  • by awjr (1248008) on Thursday March 24, 2011 @07:09AM (#35596782)

    Microsoft have quietly sat there and let people play and even gone as far as to begin the process of releasing an official Windows API for the device and the sales figures for the Kinect are through the roof. It's an amazing piece of kit.

    If this had been Sony this would have been a legal fight from beginning to end.

    • If this had been Sony this would have been a legal fight from beginning to end.

      Sure about that [codelaboratories.com]? These guys are even charging for some of their PS3 Eye development software and don't seem to have been sued yet..

    • by unapersson (38207)

      Didn't Microsoft mumble so vague legal threats to begin with, back when the Linux drivers first came out, but then went quiet when they realised they didn't have a leg to stand on?

      • by Xest (935314)

        I think that thing was really a massive misunderstanding.

        At issue was talk of "hacking" the Kinect, when really people were just figuring out how to interface with it. What Microsoft seemed to be concerned about and threatening about was people actually hacking it to give them an unfair advantage in Kinect based games as opposed to simply interfacing with it via a PC.

        It seemed to come down to abuse of the term hacking.

    • I'm guessing that they are recuperating the cost of each item by selling the item above that cost, not like with the Xbox and PS3 where they expect to recuperate the cost from sales of games.

      If they are happy with the profit for each purchase of the item, why not allow people to do what they want with the items? it just makes sense.

      • by maroberts (15852)

        I'm guessing that they are recuperating the cost of each item by selling the item above that cost, not like with the Xbox and PS3 where they expect to recuperate the cost from sales of games.

        Its probably given XBox (and games) sales a second wind, especially as the XBox has been seen as an also-ran to the PS3 and even the Wii until the Kinect came out

      • If they are happy with the profit for each purchase of the item, why not allow people to do what they want with the items? it just makes sense.

        Because they could be making even more money by selling similar services, or by selling specially licensed variations of the device.

        Imagine : A special "Medical usage"-certified Kinect. With Windows XP/Vista/Se7en drivers (that only work with said certified version). And a some medical manipulation software (closed source and works only with above drivers).

        Historically, in the past, Microsoft has already been in situation where they've tried to release their own in-house product, when some 3rd party stuff s

        • I suspect that any real displeasure would come from Primesense, rather than Microsoft(or, from Microsoft because of a contractual obligation to Primesense)...

          The Kinect is, by a substantial margin, the cheapest available version of Primesense's proprietary ranging and imaging setup. It is also, to the best of my knowledge, the only remotely consumer-available one that is a freestanding USB device. They might have scored some embedded design wins somewhere, maybe vending machines or such; but other than t
  • Are there any actual good games for it yet? I haven't heard of any, but stories of people doing all sorts of cool hacks with the system are so plentiful collagehumor even took a humorous stab at it.
  • I need sleep.

    I just read "Kinect Used to Help the Vaseline Impaired". You really don't want to know what my next thought was.

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