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Inside Microsoft: the Kinect frontier

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 02:39

June 21 - The motion sensing gaming device Kinect has already entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device, but the 'father' of virtual-reality Jaron Lanier says that is just the first step for the breakthrough device. Reuters Technology Correspondent Matt Cowan reports from the Microsoft campus in Redmond.

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Connecting with consumers - it's something that Apple seemingly perfected with its coveted gadgets and energetic launch events. But for all the fanfare for the new iGadget, it is Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox that has entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest selling consumer electronics device. Released in November of last year the motion sensing device tracks a user's movements without a separate controller. At the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles, the company said it plans to put Kinect at the heart of the living room. But this flashy innovation hasn't exactly quelled criticism of the company's ability to innovate. Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt raised hackles when he named he named a Gang of Four tech companies that he said are pulling ahead of competitors - and left Microsoft off the list. SOUNDBITE: Jaron Lanier, Partner Architect of Microsoft Kinect saying (English): "Hmm, Microsoft did the ballsiest and riskiest product introduction last year." Jaron Lanier popularized the concept of 'virtual reality' and is currently working on developing new uses for Microsoft's Kinect. SOUNDBITE: Jaron Lanier, Partner Architect of Microsoft Kinect saying (English): "Yeah Kinect is a really big deal because it's the first time we really have computer technology sensing people in the same way that their own brains sense themselves. I'm certain that in the future it will be remembered as the first step in a path that goes in amazing places." Like the solar system for example. With Kinect hooked up to Microsoft's worldwide telescope database a user can explore the cosmos with a motion of the wrist as Principal researcher Curtis Wong demonstrates. SOUNDBITE: Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research saying (English) "Here I'm navigating to the surface of Jupiter just by using the Kinect and gesturing with my fingers." SOUNDBITE: Jaron Lanier, Partner Architect of Microsoft Kinect saying (English): "Once in awhile people say 'Microsoft is in so much trouble because the model is shifting' and they want everything to be static - like it will be the PC forever or something, but you know what the fact that the world changes is what makes it possible for connect to happen. The combination of the resources and the motivation is what makes this a magical place right now." Microsoft has just made a Windows 7 compatible test version of Kinect software available to developers, in the hopes they will invent new hands-free features for standard PCs. So, while it was invented for fun...this could turn into a serious business. Matt Cowan, Reuters

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Inside Microsoft: the Kinect frontier

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 02:39