Microsoft hopes to move Kinect beyond gaming

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Microsoft certainly broke sales records when it released its wildly popular Kinect system in 2010, as this was a first for many gamers. The Kinect technology enables Xbox users to play their favorite games through physical gestures alone, as this gaming device tracks the movements of the individual using “skeletal tracking” hardware and software.


Recently, with the help of game developers, Microsoft is hoping to build on their success and take its user experience to a whole new level. To achieve this, the company launched an incubator program in China that will allow developers to build products based on Kinect technology for a variety of industries including health care and retail. In the U.S., 11 companies were selected last year for the accelerator’s first three-month session in Seattle out of almost 500 applicants. Microsoft said it has identified three companies for the China-based program that is scheduled to run through June.

Microsoft gave each participant in the Seattle program $20,000 to develop software that can be used with their Kinect platform, but the company doesn’t take ownership of any of the ideas, nor do they want a stake in the intellectual rights. The software programs that are developed could one day lead to a significant breakthrough in industries from science to marketing. One day posters and billboards may have the ability to recognize someone passing by, or stores will be able to allow people to try on clothing virtually, without ever getting undressed. Imagine that. For now, back to the cage.