With a new Microsoft gadget called Kinect, computer users can now wave their hands around and issue voice commands and cause things to happen on the computer.
Compatible with Windows 7, the Xbox and PC combination lets users make PowerPoint presentations just using their hands and is very popular with computer gamers who like to use their whole bodies to get into the action.
Kinect is a motion sensing input device developed by Microsoft for us on the Xbox 360 video game console and using a Windows PC.
Launched in late 2010, Kinect holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the fastest selling consumer electronics device with 18 million Kinect sensor units shipped by January this year.
According to Microsoft’s Cambodia team, the Kinect sensor device is available from Microsoft resellers here, even though it has not been officially launched in Cambodia yet. The estimated price for Kinect (for Xbox360) is about $140 and $226 for Kinect for Windows, according to Microsoft.
To set it up, users aim the camera at themselves and see their own image on the computer screen. They then align their hands with dots on the screen and the computer is controlled by moving the dots.
According to Microsoft, investment is being made in creating platforms optimized for use beyond the living room in Kinect for Windows, with new software features being delivered on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode”.
Kinect for Windows will also support gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems across manufacturing, retail and many more industries.
“We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable,” said Microsoft’s Piseth Chhourm.
Kinect supports a new “seated” or “10-joint” skeletal system that will let apps track the head, neck, and arms of a Kinect user - whether they’re sitting down or standing; which would work in default and near mode. It also supports four new languages for speech recognition – French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Additionally it would add support for regional dialects of these languages along with English, according to Microsoft and would be available in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan in May and Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates in June.
In March 2012, Craig Eisler, the general manager of Kinect for Windows said that almost 350 companies are working with Microsoft on custom Kinect applications for Windows.
For more information on Kinect’s uses, the following websites may be viewed:
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/kinect/kinect-effect Including for magic and storytelling.
“Even though we can see Xbox360 and Kinect are available in several game shops at Soriya Market, but in fact these products were not officially launched in Cambodia,” said a statement from Microsoft.
Other news from Microsoft, provided by the Cambodia team includes the availability of Skype on Windows Phone 7.5. Late in February this year, Skype released a beta version for Windows Phone and now Skype for Windows Phone has graduated to its first version v1.0 and is out of beta. Skype for Windows Phone is now available in 18 languages and will work on 4G, 3G and Wi-Fi networks, according to Microsoft. Skype for Windows Phone enables the use of Video Call, Voice Call, Chat and users may call any of their phone’s contacts directly from Skype.
The coming new Microsoft operating system, Windows 8, unlike Windows 7, has been “re-imagined” from the chipset to the user experience” to connect more with the user. It features the Metro interface that is designed for touchscreen input similar to that on Windows Phone and on the Xbox 360. A version of Windows 8, called Windows RT, also adds support for the ARM processor architecture in addition to the previously supported microprocessors from Intel and AMD.
In September 2011, Microsoft released the Windows 8 Developer Preview, the first testing version targets toward Developers. With the introducing of Metro Style UI Windows reimagined and reinvented from a solid core of Windows 7 speed and reliability with an all-new touch interface.
On February 29 this year Microsoft released the pre-release version of Windows 8, called the Consumer Preview. More than 100,000 changes have been made since the first release. For the first time since Windows 95, the Start button is no longer present on the taskbar, though the Start screen is still triggered by clicking the bottom-left corner of the screen and by clicking Start in the Charm.
With the Metro UI, Windows 8 introduces a new fast and fluid Start screen, still retaining the classic Windows interface.
“Everything great about Windows 7 we made even better. Windows 8 will run on the devices that can run Windows 7from Tablet, Laptop and desktop, it’ll work with Mouse and Key board and the new optimized touch experience. With USB 3.0’s significantly improved speeds, a Windows 8 user will be able to transfer all their music, photos and files faster than ever,” Piseth Chhourm said.
“In building Windows 8 we worked to enable Hyper-V, the machine virtualization technology that has been part of the last two releases of Windows Server, to function on the client OS as well. In brief, Hyper-V lets you run more than one 32-bit or 64-bit x86 operating system at the same time on the same computer. Instead of working directly with the computer’s hardware, the operating systems run inside of a virtual machine (VM).”
Many more new changes and features in Windows 8, can be downloaded to test the Consumer Preview at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-SG/windows-8/consumer-preview “Earlier next month we will release The Preview Release of Windows 8, this is the close to the complete build of the final milestone of Windows 8 RTM,” Piseth Chhourm said.