Microsoft Demos A Futuristic Kinect Powered Armchair

Yes you read that correct; Microsoft wants Kinect to make you lazier with the Kinect Armchair! When Xbox 360 Kinect was released by Microsoft back in 2010, the tagline that came along with it read – “a controller-free gaming and entertainment experience by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game platform“.

Since then, Kinect has broken the world record as ‘best selling tech gadget” and lot has been done to explore the revolutionary technology behind Kinect to explore the possibilities. The latest in this line of Kinect hacks is the state-of-the-art MIX11, a Microsoft built armchair that can be effortlessly driven by Kinect!

This week, at the MIX11 event, Microsoft demonstrated some of the new things that can be achieved with the Kinect motion controller. Microsoft demoed a special armchair that is completely controlled through the use of hand gestures that are read by the Kinect. With a few hand gestures, tedious actions like reclining the chair and controlling directions can be carried out. No more wasting a hand to grapple with a mini-joystick!

The code to control the chair was created using the upcoming Xbox Kinect PC SDK that Microsoft will be releasing for developers to develop the Kinect using Visual Basic, C++ and C#. News of the Kinect SDK for Windows first came out in January and today Microsoft announced that it will be released in spring. The SDK will enable third party software to hook into Kinect. In other words, Kinect becomes a platform.

In the demonstration, the person sitting on the chair could easily direct the chair where to move, on its omnidirectional wheels. The chair was even capable of reclining – and all this was controlled using hand movements. No word if we’ll ever see a chair like this in the market, but Microsoft will be releasing the source code along with the SDK for developers and hobbyists to make Kinect chairs of their own.

The Kinect PC SDK will also include support for two-person skeletal tracking, provide access to the four mics for high-tech speech recognition and XYZ depth perception.

However, when Microsoft releases the Kinect SDK in spring, it will be restricted to use in non-commercial applications only. Also it will only run on Windows 7, the latest version of the Windows OS. So, initially at least, commercial and non-Windows apps cannot be created.

Microsoft Kinect Driven Armchair Demo Video:

At any rate, from the technological perspective, this Futuristic Kinect Powered Armchair can certainly be a big and rather scrupulous step forward, not just for its high-tech possibilities, but also for the convenient mobility of thousands of differently enabled people around the world.


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