image

Bringing Microsoft Kinect Out of the Living Room and Into Your Daily Life

Remember back in the day when Game Boys were all the rage? Or going even further back, what about when Atari was the must-have gaming console? Nowadays, you could probably go into any Goodwill or Salvation Army and find one for sale in the back corner next to the VHS tapes and a few RCA Camcorders.

That’s not to say that they weren’t fun or didn’t fulfill their purpose, it’s just that they became obsolete when the next bigger and better thing came along. It seems like modern video game consoles have a much longer lifespan than previous models.

"It'd sure be nice if I could play on a Wii instead of reading this newspaper"

Sam wrote a post a few weeks ago on “Wii-hab” (an alternative, therapeutic use for the Nintendo Wii) and how the popular video game console is actually making a huge impact in an unlikely place. Rehabilitation centers where patients are recovering from conditions such as strokes, broken bones, surgery, and even combat injuries are seeing great success from using Wiis.

In that same vein, a few days ago I stumbled upon an article from Springwise about how Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect system is being used by Shopperception, a company that “gathers data automatically and provides information that gives you a completely new insight on your business.” I was intrigued since I love all things market-research related!

According to Shopperception’s website, there are several benefits to using Xbox’s Kinect to find out which brands are being viewed most often, picked up, and even purchased. It works the same way your website analytics work, so you can see:

  • how much time customers spend at the shelf
  • which products they grab and take with them
  • which products they touch but don’t take
  • where they take products from most often (left, right, above eye level, below eye level, etc.)

By capturing this useful information about consumers’ behavior, stores and companies will be able to better present their products to customers.

If this is a bit too creepy for you, then take rest. The Kinect is being used for good as well. Tedesys is a technology startup company in Cantebria, Spain that has been working on software to make Kinect useful in an operating room. When a surgery is in progress, the doctor can use gestures and motions to review the patient’s medical information and background without having to type on an unsterilized keyboard or touch papers on a clipboard. “Using Microsoft Kinect, they can check information on the patient without touching anything, and in this way they can avoid [the risk] of bacterial infection,” said Jesus Perez, Tedesys’ Chief Operating Officer.

To give you a brief overview of some of the uses for this hardware, here’s a clip for you:

Much like the Wii’s creative use at rehabilitation centers, the Kinect is popping up in nontraditional places, too. The games are great at helping improve balance, coordination, and physical movement of the patients leading to a quicker recovery. It can also be used to help kids with autism by improving and working on their social interaction skills, language development, and motor planning to help them write, get dressed, and sit in class better. And yes, Kinect is even being used to power a lounge chair for the optimal level of convenience and comfort!

We’ve come quite a way since the beginning days of video games in the 1970s. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Kinect in my operating room, but an Atari…not so much. I’m not sure if Microsoft knew when they were creating the Kinect that it would have additional uses (besides giving people an excuse to dance alone around in their living room on Friday nights). Regardless, the Kinect is moving out of the living room and into our daily lives. No dancing required.

What are your thoughts about Shopperception or any of the other uses for the Kinect? Do you feel Microsoft has lost the true vision for their product, or do you think it’s great to see the expansion into other markets? Sound off below!

Image credit to PopCultureGeek.com.


Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. JPorretto

    I don’t know if Microsoft has lost it’s true vision for it’s product, since I’m not sure they had one past “Look, we do motion too! Except ours is cooler!” There’s been a huge shortage of quality software for anything motion controlled, so I like seeing it be used any way it can!

    Thanks Swany! (It’ll catch on… maybe)

    • amy

      I agree, Jeff. It’s great to see this technology being used in any form!

      Hahaha, i’d be lying if I said I’ve never been called that before ;)

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I think that if gaming consoles can take on additional real world applications, then we should let them! I love that this generation of consoles has lasted so long, because I really got sick of buying a a system and a game only to find out that the next generation was coming out in like three months later.

    I love the idea of the Kinect in the hospital and medical setting, especially for keeping everything sterile in an operation room setting. And I like the idea of making physical therapy more like a game and less like the painful retraining of your muscles.

    • amy

      I remember that time when it seemed that every two years there was “the next big thing”. Thankfully, my neighbors were always up to date on the technology so I’d just go over there and play it- haha.

      I would never have thought in a million years to have this technology being used in a medical environment, but after doing the research… it makes complete sense. Even though doctors wash their hands countless times throughout the day, hospitals are still germy places. And we all know that a keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat. So, I’m “game” to see a Kinect in the operating room (see what I did there???)

  3. Jen

    The Kinect is so awesome! I love the game Dance Central, it’s a great workout and it’s fun at the same time. I didn’t know it was being used in the medical field by doctors during surgery. That is way cool and a totally smart idea. It doesn’t surprise me it’s used for rehab also because it’s a great way to get exercise and have fun. If you have an X-Box I would highly recommend investing in the Kinect! I love it!

    Great Post Amy!

    • amy

      Thanks, Jen :) I’ve always wanted to play ‘Dance Central’, but I don’t have an Xbox so no Kinect for me (insert miniature violins playing here). Having fun always makes doing things easier, especially something like rehab when all you want to do is feel better again. I’d be very impressed seeing a rehab facility decked out with Wii’s and Kinect’s ;)

  4. Rachel

    A really interesting post, Amy! The bit about surgeons using Kinect is especially fascinating. It’s always neat to see how some products and technology end up being used in ways that even the inventors didn’t think of. Thanks for the info! :)

    • amy

      Thanks for reading, Rachel :) I honestly had no idea either, like I said in the post I originally came across the market research article and then started to look at other uses for Kinect. Thank you internet!!

  5. Eric

    Tracking my shopping habits?

    EXTREMELY CREEPY.

    I think if I saw one trying to, I’d deliberately take my time – and probably ten minutes – to weigh my peanut butter options. After ten minutes, I’d like to think the poor sap in charge of reviewing all that consumer data would simply say to heck with it.

    Akin to the companies that tried using cell phone GPS systems to track the movements of consumers at a shopping mall, I’d like to think there’re some legal ramifications to performing that kind of marketing research without at least posting some sort of warning at entranceways, stating that entering the store would also serve as an agreement to that kind of marketing.

    Yet again, another reason to do my shopping online.

    Not at all cool with that.

    Helping surgeons keep on OR sterile?

    Absolutely! Great idea. They ought to come up with more ideas like that one.

    • Amy Swanson

      I’m with you, Eric. I think it’s pretty creepy having someone track my shopping habits, I mean I know they already but at least it’s not so blatant.

      The really sad part is that I don’t even think you’re safe online shopping. The things websites can do to see what other items you’re looking at and at what other sites is enough to make me wonder about ‘big brother’ really existing.

      However, if this same technology can keep me safe and healthy following a surgery, then I’m in!

  6. Candice J.

    If they find ways to use it to make advances in medical technology or anything that could aid in the healthcare field, I’m all for that!

    Using it as a marketing tool to track people, what they like, and what sort of marketing they are attracted to? That is def. a NO-GO from me. I agree with Eric that its extremely creepy. I would purposely take my time just to screw with the data they are trying to collect. If you didn’t ask me to be a participant in your study then i should be! It’s as simple as that, they are more than enough people who probably would be willing to be.

    • Candice J.

      My bad, i meant “shouldn’t be!” Oh how I hate a typo!

    • Amy Swanson

      This is the part about my job that I hate most. Market research walks a very thin line of ethics, in my opinion. I can see both sides to the issue of market research.

      From the marketers perspective, it’s a great way to better understand how customers are reacting to your brand. Is there a specific color that customers respond positively to? The package design maybe? How can you sell more of your product? If the customer knows ahead of time they’re being observed it’ll skew the data and results.

      However, from the consumer perspective it’s incredibly creepy to know ahead of time that you’re being watched, but it feels like an invasion of privacy when you don’t know. That’s why whenever I can, I offer feedback to companies about their product so they won’t have to be creeping on my buying habits.

Leave a Comment