Ever since Microsoft embraced the hackers of the Kinect modding community, there has been a huge spark in global innovation across industries [see How Kinect is Changing the World of Retail]. Some of them are borderline miracles in my humble opinion. ‘Tis the season of miracles isn’t it?
Give the gift of sight. Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (NAVI) is a student project which aims to enhance indoor navigation for those with poor sight. A Kinect camera augments a person’s impression of a room and reports the layout back to an on-board laptop and a set of vibrating motors. Software further crunches the data and provides auditory navigation instructions. It’s a bit clunky, but a tremendous blueprint of what’s possible and what’s surely to come.
Give the gift of speech. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing have developed the American Sign Language Recognizer. A Kinect camera recognizes skeleton features, which are basically data points across the chest and arms, and interprets movement of those data points, translating them into sentences. Simple gestures are 98 percent accurate.
The plan is to build this out to handle a larger vocabulary by including hand shape features and longer more complex sentences. The results of the data sets can be viewed in the video. There’s no sound, which is fitting considering the audience.
Give the gift of mobility. At the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, England, doctors are prescribing different Kinect games to help stroke patients regain movement. “The patient thought it was marvelous and we could actually see an improvement occurring, rather than the normal stretching and pulling a physiotherapist would do to the patient,” says Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics at the hospital, referring to a patient who has lost their arm movement. In another case, a patient who has problems with full-body movement and standing up plays bowling to work on his hand-eye-body coordination.
What do you think about these little miracles? Does Microsoft Kinect have other applications in the world of science and medicine?
Microsoft Kinect was designed in Creo. For more information visit the Creo Resource Center.