A recent article in the innovation and trends blog PSFK highlighted one of the growing numbers of Microsoft Kinect hacks that have been emerging since the gesture-based XBox controller was released earlier this month. As you can see in the video below, these installation designers have adapted the Kinect to allow them to control an interactive puppet by moving their hands and body.
Apparently Microsoft has encouraged the creation of open-source drivers and other experimentation with their product. I think this will lead to interesting and unexpected developments in gesture-based control, developed by technically advanced users. A few years ago Lego found itself in a similar position with it’s Mindstorms programmable robot kits. Originally targeted at kids, the kits were more popular with adults who quickly hacked the accompanying software to build even more versatile robots. Lego embraced these activities and the product continues to be hugely successful.
This is another example of “open innovation” through lead users, a topic that has been mentioned in a number of previous posts. As more and more sensors, lenses, motors and other components are added to mobile phones, it will be exciting to see the novel ways in which they are adapted by App developers and users. I will be particularly interested in novel usage scenarios that arise from developments in 3D control and viewing. Pathway #4 at the upcoming MEX event on 30th Nov – 1st Dec 2010 will discuss the growth of 3D in mobile UX. I’m pretty sure the Kinect and other motion sensing gaming systems will play a big part in the evolution of this area.