To my mingled dismay and amusement, my scruffy-looking nerf herder recently purchased an XBox Kinect, which now lives above my television. And it's weird.
First of all, the thing moves. On its own. To watch you. There is a feature built into the XBox Kinect where in order to better interpret the movements of the people in the room, it will tilt until it sees a face. And oh yeah, it recognizes my face. I walk into the room and wave at it, and it says, "Hello Self-Rescuing Princess". Freaking weird.
Using the Kinect is a fun and interesting experience. It uses movement speed and angles to determine force, and it's ability to differentiate between movements is accurate and a little creepy. I've played Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, and a demo of Dance Central, and found them all to be fun and a good workout. I'm not a serious console gamer, however I hope that eventually some story-driven titles are released. It would be really fun to play Lara Croft and actually have to run, jump, shoot and kill Raptors.
...don't get me started on the whole "Killing Dinosaurs" thing in that game. Seriously, it's a blog post unto itself.
But the very coolest thing about using the Kinect, at least for me, is the Voice Recognition software. "Xbox, Next. XBox, Play Disc." I think my feelings on the subject are actually pretty well summed up by Gabe from Penny Arcade:
Seriously, I'm high on the drug that is absolute power, and I've only had the thing for three days.
All in all, it's a very impressive system, which I'm fairly confident will be replaced by an even more impressive system in a few years. I have a feeling it's the beginning of a new kind of video game, one that is more immersive and challenging that previous games have had the ability to be. However, there are other industries besides Entertainment that should take note of this technology. There are hundreds of real-world applications to technology that recognizes the movements of its users. No-touch and voice-only controls will no longer be reserved for the super-rich, government labs, and high-budget action movies. Mechanized home appliances could very well be a feasible venture in the next decade. And maybe, finally, I can get a robot to bring me coffee in bed the second I wake up.