Kinect + Windows 8 + Metro–Part 1: The Backstory

This is part one of a series (part two); most of the technical detail will be in the last post. Between NDAs and work disclosure, I can’t release any code, but I can discuss concepts, caveats and successes in the hopes that it helps someone else as much as the open source Kinect projects & the Kinect for Windows community has helped me.

I started writing this and realized it’ll be long. So I’m going to break it up into sections. Section one, the backstory.

My current project at work is pretty sweet. I’m to build an interactive system, accessible and easily usable to guys in gloves — i.e., no touchscreens — to manipulate project data, project images and project plans. Sounds easy enough, huh?

Starting out: Touchscreen

When I initially heard about this project, there was a lot of chatter around using a touchscreen. Let’s review why that’s a bad idea:

Touchscreen Alternatives: Kinect

Kinect popped into my head, what with the dev community doing the cool things they’ve been doing — I expected to be looked at like I was crazy. After the initial questions, business people started throwing around the words ‘Minority Report’ — tip: that’s an exciting time. That’s when business need meets holy-f*n-hell-this-is-sweet dev work — it’s win-win career gold. Champagne falls from the heavens, velvet ropes part — the works.

Here’s what makes the Kinect a great tool for this application:

Bonus! Voice.

There’s something else we get for free with Kinect — voice. The Kinect microphone array is killer, so while we haven’t done any field testing, it’s expected to be able to compete at some level with a lapel mic.

So that’s the deal. Next up, the first iteration