Microsoft’s Kinect continues to expand its role in modern medicine

microsoft kinect

The Kinect’s versatility never ceases to amaze. Microsoft introduced Poject Natal to the world in 2009 and it looked like little more than a new way to play Breakout by flailing your arms about in mid-air and looking like a moron in the process. Since then though, the spatial sensor array has proven useful in an ever-expanding number of practical applications beyond making Han Solo dance in Star Wars Kinect. Its use in treating medical conditions has been particularly impressive, and because of Kinect’s utility in hospitals, one of Microsoft’s gaming products is finally popular in Japan.

Health care and equipment company Nichii Gakkan announced a new tool named Opect, a complex imaging system used while performing surgery that relays sensitive information to the doctor without them needing to use their hands. Nichii Gakkan has developed the mobile workstation that doctors use with Opect, but the imaging technology in the 498,000 yen (around $6,350) machine is all Kinect.

According to an article at Kotaku, Opect is just one new medical application of Kinect in Japan. The Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo is developing OAK (Observation and Access with Kinect), a software interface for helping severely disabled children communicate through motion.

Microsoft has been making headlines since releasing the Windows Kinect SDK that allows for more complex applications of the motion sensing technology. In late 2011, a team at the University of Missouri began using Kinect to monitor motion in elderly patients to help prevent potentially crippling falls. Senior centers also began using Kinect as part of physical therapy regiments. University of Konstanz researchers Michael Zollner and Stephan Huber, meanwhile, hacked the Kinect to be used as part of helmet that can, in a manner of speaking, help the blind to see.

Kinect isn’t only being used to improve mankind’s innerspace. Engineers at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited and the Univerity of Surrey used parts of Kinect’s imaging system to develop STRaND- 2 earlier this year. STRaND-2 is repair system of two satellites used for repairing orbiting equipment in space. The Kinect tech allows the device to intelligent determine how close objects are.

In short: Kinect can heal the sick and improve the exploration of space. It can make Microsoft’s video game technology successful in a country that has ignored the Xbox for over a decade. And yet somehow it can’t always detect when you’re trying to throw a fireball in Fable: The Journey.

Mobile

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Computing

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Web

Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Decades-old Apple IIe computer found in dad’s attic, and it still works

A New York law professor went viral last weekend after he discovered an old Apple IIe computer sitting in his dad's attic. In a series of tweets, he showed that the vintage machine still works perfectly fine after 30 years.
Computing

Logitech’s G MX518 gaming mouse pairs classic looks with all-new tech

Logitech is relaunching one of its most popular classic gaming mice, the MX518. Now called the G MX518, it sports upgraded internals that give it a 16,000 DPI optical sensor and new and improved memory.
Computing

Microsoft could be planning a laptop with foldable screen, hints patent filing

Filed in late 2017 and titled "Bendable device with Display in Movable Connection With Body," the patent filing explains a new mechanism for laptops which can eliminate a hinge and allow the screen to fold shut from the inside,
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for February 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

AMD's Navi graphics cards could be available as soon as July 2019 — as long as it's not delayed by stock problems. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in February 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Computing

RTX might be expensive, but the 16 series could have the best Nvidia Turing GPUs

Set to debut at a step below the RTX 2060 on the price and performance spectrums, the GTX 1660 Ti and its other 16-series brethren could be Nvidia's killer mid-range cards of 2019 — especially with Tensor Core-powered DLSS.
Computing

Ryzen 3000 chips will be powerful, and they might be launched as early as July

AMD's upcoming Ryzen 3000 generation of CPUs could be the most powerful processors we've ever seen, with higher core counts, greater clock speeds, and competitive pricing. Here's what we know so far, based on both leaks and the recent…