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.

Person relaxing after breaking their leg
“It’d sure be nice if I could play on a Wii instead of reading this newspaper”

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.

Surgery

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.

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