Microsoft Embraces Motion Control for Windows

Dennis Faas's picture

Ever since Microsoft released Kinect, its hands-free motion control system for the Xbox 360 console, enthusiasts have been trying desperately to use it on the Windows operating system (OS). Given their determination in the matter, it appears Microsoft has concluded that if you can't beat 'em, you may as well join 'em.

The Kinect system uses what is effectively a robotically-mounted camera to identify humans and track their movements. This allows players to take part in games without the need for any controller: the player simply makes the appropriate movement for the game situation.

Using Kinect on Windows PCs

It didn't take long for people to start taking apart both the hardware and software to examine exactly how the movements were translated into commands, and to find creative ways to use this on computers.

At first, this simply involved people proving the system could indeed be used to send information to a Windows PC. But more technically advanced MIT students were soon using Kinect to control a Chrome web browser.

Official Kinect Software Drivers to be Released for Windows

By the end of last year, one developer had even found a way to play the online game World of Warcraft by physically carrying out the player's movements rather than using mouse and keyboard buttons which, if nothing else, would combat the sedentary lifestyle of the most dedicated players. (Source:

Now, reports say Microsoft is preparing to not only release official Windows drivers for Kinect (which would allow the hardware to communicate with Windows), but will also unveil a software developer toolkit. This would allow independent developers to create applications that can use the Kinect hardware when it is plugged into a PC. (Source:

Multiple Benefits as PC Kinect comes to Fruition

Many analysts suggest porting Kinect over to Windows PCs is a smart move. Firstly, it means Microsoft can maintain some control over Kinect's transition to PC, a development hackers would have figured out at some point.

Secondly, it effectively creates a new market for Kinect-based games on PCs. This will bring in extra money through licensing the use of the Kinect system to developers, and through increasing sales of the Kinect hardware.

It also opens the scope for more developers to come up with commercially viable creative ideas for the technology, which could help weaken the feeling that traditional PCs are being left behind by more fashionable devices such as video game consoles and tablets.

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