Music Videos Benefit from Kinect Possibilities

Clever use of Kinect helped Tim & Joe create a one-of-a-kind music video for New Look ‘s song “Nap on the Bow”. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen talented people taking advantage of Kinect technology to give their music a new feel. Earlier this year Bell ‘s song “Chase no Face” created a custom program for Kinect combined with a projector to give this music video its own incredible look.

Regardless of how anyone might feel about these tunes one can appreciate the inventive spirit and vision of these creations. We’re constantly amazed by them!

Of course, not everyone is a brilliant programmer and/or musical talent. For folks like myself that cannot carry a tune in a bucket or code my way out of a wet paper bag, there are Kinect Fun Labs gadgets Air Band and Musical Feet. Have you checked them out, yet? Air Band and Musical Feet let me rock out to the fullest extent of the law with augmented reality from the comfort of my living room. Even Minnie enjoys it!

additional source: The Atlantic

Brilliant Teens Win Top Honors with Amazing Kinect Hack

cassieandliuToday on NPR’s All Things Considered they featured a story about two high school students from Tennessee that recently won the team portion of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology with the help of Kinect.

Cassee Cain and Ziyuan Liu were first inspired when they played Dance Central.  “One day… at my house playing Kinect we got kinda curious about how the Kinect could see and critique our dance moves,” explained Cain. “This was something that sparked our interest.”

These young innovators used the Kinect sensor along with a robotic leg to analyze leg motions while walking. Their project analyzed the human gait. Considering many people working in rehabilitation do not have access to the expensive instruments traditionally used for gait analysis. The high school seniors will share the $100,000 grand prize in the team category for Kinect to analyze human walking patterns, work that could ultimately be used in prosthesis design and improvements for amputees.Science Competition

Kinect’s cameras and laser emitter were used to track points on the hip, knee and ankle. “Just by extracting those three points we were able to find the ‘knee angle’,” Cain said. “This is really useful for therapists, clinicians and prosthetists not only for fitting prosthetics, but helping people with therapy and rehabilitation.”

“We did research on stereo cameras and those cost usually around $2000 each,” Liu pointed out. “The Kinect is many, many more times affordable.”

“When further developed, their system could open avenues to bring personalized rehabilitation to the home,” said Sudeep Sarkar, a computer engineer at the University of South Florida and a competition judge. “This could potentially reduce medical costs, allowing clinicians to monitor a patient’s progress from a remote site.”

Of course, we’re thrilled to hear about this and many other ways people are using Kinect to help them make the world a better place for everyone. Congrats to these amazing innovators! We can’t wait to see what you do next!

Astronauts May Be Weightless, but They Still Got to Watch Their Figure

According to an article from New Scientist, space geniuses have created a Kinect Hack that helps Astronauts stay fit and calculate their mass in zero gravity.

Apparently, being weightless is a terrible way to stay fit. Astronaut_CouchTV_NewWeb_mediumIn just a few weeks a strapping young Astrohero can lose up to 15 percent of their body mass in space because their muscles atrophy due to lack of use. The weightless residents spend at least two hours a day exercising to help counteract this.

Before Kinect, a complicated method with springs and stools that was invented in 1965 was the only way to reliably gauge the mass of objects in space.

Kinect’s depth-sensing ability can easily generate a 3D model of an object (Want to try generating a 3D model yourself? Check out Kinect Fun Labs gadgets Build-a-Buddy, Kinect Me, or Googly Eyes!). The science hackers then use a statistical model the links weight to a large data of body measurements to calculate the volume and weight of the object. These calculations are 97% accurate!

While this model has yet to be tested on the International Space Station, it does have some merit. Rather than determining mass, it determines volume. however, combined with the current method could yield new insights. Carmelo Velardo, the space genius that came up with this says, “The combination would provide insights into changes in body density that might be illuminating.”

Hopefully, he’ll get the opportunity to test it soon. The day Kinect gets to space will be a totally awesome one for our team. I’m sure there will be cake here on Earth to celebrate!

Downloadable Kinect Titles 50% Off!

This time of year everyone that doesn’t properly prepare for the holidays is at the mall. These absent-minded procrastinators are rushing from hither and yon, searching in frustration and desperation for the gift they would’ve found a week ago. If you’re looking for a few last minute gifts look no further than your Xbox 360 console with Kinect!

Today only you can pick up Hole in the Wall and Leedmees for just 400 Microsoft Points! That’s half-off the usual cost of 800 Microsoft Points! Both titles are rated E for everyone and they’re perfect for holiday fun with the family.

Both are part of Xbox’s Countdown to 2012. Every day until next year we have a different deal to offer so be sure to check back daily!

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I gotta get to the mall.

Picasso and Sparkler

Long, long ago before Al Gore claimed to invent the Internet, there were artists that painted on things called a “canvas”. There were even different styles of art and one of them was aptly called “Abstract”. Perhaps the most renowned of these abstract artist was Pablo Picasso.

Picasso's CentaurFrom the Life photo Gallery:

“Renowned LIFE photographer Gjon Mili, a technical genius and lighting innovator, visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949. Mili showed the artist some of his photographs of ice skaters with tiny lights affixed to their skates, jumping in the dark — and Picasso’s lively mind began to race. This series of photographs, since known as Picasso’s “light drawings,” were made with a small flashlight or “light pencil” in a dark room; the images vanished almost as soon as they were created. However, while the “Picasso draws a centaur in the air” photo is rightly celebrated and famous, many of the images in this gallery are far less well-known — and equally thrilling.”

Picasso's Flower Vase

Picasso was able to make all of these without actually being able to see what he was doing until they developed the film (it wasn’t like our cameras now. They had to use hazardous chemicals to make photos on real paper!) Can you imagine what Picasso could’ve done with Kinect Sparkler? Have you ever tried to make a Sparkler image with your eyes shut? Share with us some of the great Kinect Sparkler moments you’ve created; Abstract and otherwise in the comments!