I GOT A KINECT! Part I
Yesterday, thanks to the magic of a friend’s used game trade-ins (which I have much maligned, and yet here I am, profiting from them), I purchased a Kinect at a deep savings. I have been looking forward to owning a Kinect for a very long time, and my enthusiasm in the interim has not waned. As I’ve written previously, my main interest in the Kinect stems from it being a clear step into the future, where interacting with machines without a traditional input device, like a keypad or joystick, will be the norm. Unlike the reactionary controller-based motion capability of the Playstation Move, the Kinect has taken this technology where it needs to go, and while the detractors of motion gaming are legion, that does not minimize the remarkable achievement that the Kinect represents.
After plugging it in, and running through the various setups and calibrations (all shockingly fun in themselves, as I had predicted), I set about fiddling with both the motion sensors and voice activation. While waving my arms around, Minority Report style, was exactly as excellent as I expected, it was the voice control that brought a tear to my eye. (No really, I was actually moved to tears, which has happened previously. Only the marvels of new technology can shake my Spockian outer shell.)
Now, admittedly, I STILL marvel at heavier than air flight, so perhaps my threshold for wonderment is low, and yes, voice recognition technology has been around for a very long time, but the way that it has been integrated into the Xbox is just perfect. In my run through, it only hiccuped a bit, but mostly its understanding of my commands was right on target. Once signed in, navigating the dashboard with voice commands only is extremely smooth, and the majority of what you might want to do in the Xbox Live interface is available without lifting a finger. In fact, after turning the Xbox on, you can use Kinect the entire way through. My login process is only complicated by my password protection, otherwise, one button press could conceivably be the only tangible physical interaction in my entire experience.
Tune in tomorrow for part II, wherein I try out my pottymouth on the family friendly Kinect, and experiment with the dreaded space requirements of Kinect Adventures!
[This is an image pulled from the Kinect patent application.]