Microsoft’s gesture interface Kinect turns one year old this weekend; it was the 4th of November 2010 when it was first publicly available. The device has taken the world by storm, from casual gamers to device hackers around the globe and it’s breathed new hope into a lagging tech giant. Perhaps most importantly, it’s helped create an entire new category of human-computer interface. After the Command Line came the Graphic User Interface – and after that has come the Natural User Interface (NUI): the human-computer interface that is transparent or invisible.
Along with the iPad, which itself is just over 18 months old after launching in the Spring of 2010, the Kinect has helped turn ideas that were once science fiction into developments that seem imminent. See, for example, the video below made by Microsoft to celebrate the innovation occurring on the Kinect platform.
How much of that stuff is live now? One staffer from the Haile Digital Planetarium at Northern Kentucky University comments on the YouTube posting of this video saying they’ve been letting students use their connect that way since July.
Multitouch, voice search, gestures. Those are now some of the most potent points of intersection between human will and computational power. Could this new stage of interface change the world as much as the transition from the Command Line to the GUI did? It may very well.
Let’s hope no one single company exerts too much control over this change to the detriment of innovation and humanity at large.
On this first anniversary, Microsoft offers a site about what it calls the Kinect effect and a gallery of Kinect-based development projects. Both are very inspiring.
This is an important day to remember. I’d love to read your thoughts on it in comments, readers.