Microsoft has just revealed their plans for the Kinect in a recent interview with Co.Design. The software giant has said that manufacturing of the Kinect is now officially shut down. Originally created for the Xbox 360, the Kinect made its debut in 2010 with a depth sensing camera and a voice recognition enabled microphone, selling about 35 million devices worldwide.
Despite the big numbers, the Kinect was being overlooked by the Xbox team which stuck with traditional gaming to counter the PS4. The Kinect’s death also brings about changes. Its core sensor, the v4 and the soon to be v5, currently powers Hololens – Microsoft’s augmented reality platform, created by Alex Kipman.
According to Co.Design, Microsoft’s team of Kinect designers are now busy building other things for the company- new technologies such as the Cortana voice assistant Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface for the future.
The Kinect worked by painting a door with invisible infrared dots to track, in 3D space, the human body. It was dubbed as the best device to get gamers off the couch. Back in the day, it was one of the first game consoles to feature machine learning and voice commands. Even now, its features do not have a rival. Unfortunately, the Kinect was never good at its job.
Designed to be Microsoft’s answer to Nintendo’s Wii, the Kinect was priced similarly but unlike its rival, it frustrated users who spent countless hours figuring out how to make the device understand commands. But it was not a complete failure. According to reports, the Kinect did inspire the DIY community spawning a sub-genre of Kinect hacks. According to TechCrunch, they were popping up at the most unexpected places. A number of universities used it for 3D scanning and robotic vision.
Well that’s it then. The revolutionary Kinect is now dead. But its memory will live on. The technology used by the Kinect has inspired many, including the iPhone X, which uses the same infrared dots to track faces. In fact, the much hated ‘notch’ on the iPhone X could be called a mini Kinect (BTW the tech behind Kinect was designed by PrimaSense, a company now acquired by Apple).