Trending: Elizabeth Warren takes aim at Amazon’s taxes again during speech at Seattle rally

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Seattle 2.0, and imported to GeekWire as part of our acquisition of Seattle 2.0 and its archival content. For more background, see this post.

By Matt Paulin

You probably already know about XBox Kinect. “Kinect for Xbox 360 is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console. Based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral for the Xbox 360 console, it enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands.”

What you might not know is that the Kinect has a very special camera built into it for capturing 3d scene information and a multi-array microphone to capture where sound is coming from.  Because of this, the DIY community latched onto the Kinect and has been reusing the technology to make some very interesting projects.  For instance, here you can see a better way to display earthquake data.   And here are 5 hacks that people have done to the Kinect.  What is great is that Microsoft has even released an SDK to make it that much easier to create applications from the Kinect.

Last week the Seattle Think Tank’s  “Weekly Online Brainstorm” was targeted at this technology. We explored what else could be done with the Kinect. We did end up with over 50 ideas but, I have pared them down to 12.


  1. Senior Health Monitoring : Use the XBox Kinect to measure the flexibility, stability of seniors in a elderly health care facility.
  2. Secret Dance Door : Build the Kinect camera into a front door.  It now can recognize a set of gestures to unlock the door.  No more keys and it knows who is outside.
  3. Virtual Kanban Board :  Add a digital projector and convert a wall into a very large Kanban board.  The information could be captured and stored for an agile team.
  4. Object copier : Use the Kinect camera to take a snap shot of a shape and then use a 3d printer to make the shape.
  5. Virtual Water Cooler : People could gather and talk in a virtual hallway, you could walk to a door and see the office of different people, even though they were virtual.  This would be more for people who are working remotely or at home.
  6. Virtual Walk Input Device : Add to a Tread Desk, to facilitate a multiple screen work space while walking.  The Kinect can detect your movement forward and backwards which would move windows and perhaps scroll up and down a page when you walk.
  7. 3D House Mapping Bot : Use a robot to map the inside of a house in 3D.  This could help home shoppers to get a more complete virtual tour of a house before visiting it.
  8. Gesture Pictures : Build gesture capture into a digital camera so you don’t have to ask someone else to take a picture of you and your friends. Just gesture to queue up the next shot.
  9. Auto Pothole Detector : Mount the 3D camera under a car for pothole detection.  Using this information and GPS it can be sent to the cities pothole backlog for repairs.
  10. Non Intrusive Personal Fitting : Auto detect a persons size at a clothing store to custom size patterns for them.
  11. Queue Watcher : Put camera on store lines and see, not just when they are too long, but when people are getting impatient and fidgety.
  12. Posture Watcher : Use the Kinect camera to monitor your posture.  Use this to help prevent back problems and carpal tunnel.

There is a lot of potential for the technology involved in the XBox Kinect.  I believe that many of the applications of this technology are outside the obvious.  I also think that we will see more applications as natural user interfaces become more common.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.