We’ve been playing with Kinect for Windows since it launched over a year ago in Beta. There’s a few things we’d really like to see that we think would make it that much better. Here’s our top 10.
1. Make the Kinect device more mountable.
At the moment it’s really tough to do anything other than sit the Kinect on a table or bench. There’s no tripod mount thread or mountable plate template in the base of the Kinect. We’d really like to see the standard tripod screw thread added to the base. So far to work around this we’ve had to do is:
- Buy the wall mount kit (around $25 AUS)
- Throw out the wall mount bit and hook to the kinect
- Attach to a tripod head or similar thread screw.
2. Allow the Kinect to be able to work in different mount positions e.g. upside down
Quite a few people we’ve talked to about using Kinect in their organisation need to mound the Kinect up high. The easiest way to mount this is upside-down. The problem is the Kinect skeleton and person tracking doesn’t work upside down (or side-ways). A nice configuration feature would be able to specify the orientation of the kinect so it could say flip the image to work in different orientations.
3. Kinect App store
People want a way to get their Kinect apps out into the wild so people can use them. We have a Windows Phone store and a Windows 8 store…why not utilise these platforms and have a Kinect store or bolt onto the existing stores so developers can get out there and have their apps more accessible to more people.
4. Depth Frame Image as a more friendly object
If you’re doing depth frame processing currently, the first thing you probably have to do is some bit shifting to separate the person index from the actual depth data. It would be nice to have this as a nicer entity. I assume it’s because we’re getting so much data through and so quickly it’ll be a performance reason.
5. Make the Kinect able to be used as a webcam
When I plug the Kinect into my computer, at the moment it doesn’t come up as a webcam device. It’s got the camera, microphones and speakers but I can’t use it as a webcam at the moment. While I understand we can get better webcams that are much smaller and probably cheaper than buying a Kinect device, we’ve heard from more than one person that they’d like to use it as a webcam as a reason to get it into their organisation so they can then build up better ways to use it later after they already have the devices.
6. Give the Kinect kickass skype support
Following on from the webcam idea, we’d love to see it integrated into skype and get all those great features like zooming in and tracking the person in the room who is speaking.
7. Kinect Studio – make this able to record without needing to hook to an app
I’m loving the idea of Kinect Studio. It makes the whole debugging your application actually possible. At the moment you have to have an app to be able to record the information. In this sense it’s just like a debugger, it hooks to your running app. A lot of people just wanted to be able to record the information from Kinect Studio without hooking to an app. There were a lots of different reasons. One of the common ones was so people could install the sdk and record a bunch of information as a data sampling exercise. This data could then be used to analyse what the user does and to test the application that hasn’t been built yet.
8. Simple built in gestures
While gestures can be a tough one to nail down and identify there are a few common ones most people seem to want like swipe, wave, stop etc. It would be great to see a few out-of-the-box gestures that people can use if they like and if they want something more complicated they can build themselves.
9. More industrial
As the Kinect for Windows allows us to get out of our lounge rooms with the device, the need for it to be more industrial increases. It needs to be a bit more rugged to handle the situations where it won’t be sitting nicely on your living room cabinet. A version that works betting in outside light, near/around water, can handle a few bumps and knocks would be great for so many applications.
10. Different form factors
One of the biggest hurdles we’ve come across it the identification of the Kinect device and the association to the XBox. Quite often all will be going well till it goes up for sign off and is seen as “oh that toy”. I do wonder if the Kinect for Windows device looked different to the Xbox version if people would take it a bit more seriously. I know 100’s of hours has probably gone into the design and certification already. It would be nice however to have a few different form factors that would suit different installation types.
Have you got any items on you Kinect feature wish-list?