Youtube user RumblePackNZ posted a pretty interesting video. He turned on his Kinect, and then recorded the scene using a pair of IR goggles (from the Modern Warfare 2 Collectors Edition, no less.) The resulting image shows thousands of stationary dots blanketing the surfaces of the room. The Kinect projects these and then reads them back through an IR camera to interpret the space and motion of objects in the room.
I love the fact that Microsoft is making this research public. These aren’t ready for store shelves, but some of the concepts being explored here are very interesting.
I’ve felt like my laptop trackpad surpassed the functionality of a desktop mouse a while ago. It looks like the mouse, or some other type of input device, will catch up soon and take advantage of all of these new multitouch mechanisms that are being built into modern operating systems.
Microsoft has released its first full iPhone app, Seadragon [iTunes Link]. Seadragon is Microsoft Lab’s technology that lets you quickly pan and zoom a gigapixel image while streaming the content over your connection. Only the section and detail-level of the image you want to see is loaded on your device, making the technology a perfect application for a mobile device with limited bandwidth and memory. The application can load large panoramic and gigapixel images, as well as Photosynth photo libraries. In my brief trial of the app I couldn’t get the Photosynth library listing to load, but you can see a video of it in action at the Microsoft Labs Blog post.
My favorite image in the sample collection so far is “Running the Numbers” by photographer Chris Jordan. You see a classic pointalism painting, but as you zoom in you see that the image is built by hundreds of thousands of aluminum cans, a real great example of the power of Seadragon.
If you have Netflix and a Mac, surely you’ve been frustrated that you’ve been locked out of Watch Instantly since it was launched long ago. Today Netflix started allowing Mac users to opt-in to the Mac streaming beta. To get your account added, head over to http://www.netflix.com/silverlightoptin and install the Microsoft Silverlight plugin. Apparently there is a 5 device limit to the beta, so keep that in mind as you activate computers. Hopefully it will go away after the beta is over.
You’ve got to check out this video of a presentation given by Microsoft engineers at the Professional Developers Conference in LA. I was completely racking my brain trying to figure out how it worked, which made the reveal on the (relatively simple) mechanics of the technology at the end a lot of fun. The first application that comes to my mind is interactive retail displays. What other practical uses are there?