By now you've all heard of the new system for controlling Xbox games: the Microsoft Kinect. You may have even seen one of the videos circulating around of people using hacked Kinect controllers to do some things never envisioned by its creators. If you haven't seen them then prepare to be amazed.
In this video, we see a prototype of using the Kinect to control the immensely popular game World of Warcraft. The action is a bit crude but you can see the potential. Minority Report here we come.
In this clip, you see video of the skeleton (CT scans) overlaid on the human body in real-time. Imagine if this were used in an anatomy class. Or wilder, imagine if this were live data from a scanner overlaid on the person's body where the doctor and patient could both see it. "See Doc, it hurts right here." "Yes, your liver does seem to be inflamed there."
This video shows the built-in videoconferencing capability of the system. Most of us have done something like this in the past using Skype or FaceTime but now it can be done from our living rooms on a big screen with just a wave of the hand.
Microsoft has some amazing videos of the system's capabilities on their Kinect page (here). The voice command and gesture-as-input are very impressive. It is clear that the mouse and keyboard are headed the way of the dodo. It won't be too long before this type of interaction with all of our devices is the norm.
The powerful features of the Kinect have also attracted the interest of robotics researchers. Already we are seeing experimentation like that shown in the video below. The cheap and extremely powerful sensors of the Kinect make it a perfect set of eyes and ears for any type of robot.
This is clearly the dawn of a new chapter in how we interact with our devices. Expect to see some mind-bending advances coming to your living room and desk very soon.