Kinect in the Classroom
Kinect is a motion sensing input device which allows the the user to control and interect with a range of apps using gestures and spoken commands. The device features a RGB camera, depth sensor and multi-array microphone which means it can provide full body 3D motion capture, facial recognition and voice recognition.
The Kinect was originally released to work with an X-box 360 to play games, but since the launch the release of open source drivers meant the Xbox Kinect could be connected to a PC which led to developers creating a wide range of applications for the Kinect ranging from controlling on screen avatars to playing music using movement.
In February, Microsoft released the Windows version of the Kinect along with the software development kit with a view to promote development for the device.
I feel that there is lots of potential for the Kinect in a special needs environment from using in classrooms to support teaching and learning,to providing a wide range sensory experiences for student.
Now for those wanting to try this out you have two options which I hope to explain below:
The Xbox Kinect will work on a Windows XP (or higher) PC and you will need to install the drivers to get it working. The easiest way to get started is to visit http://visikord.com/download#demoplay and download the software. Included with this are the drivers you need to get the Kinect working on you PC. There are other ways to install the drivers but I want to keep it simple and also you get to try out some excellent software as well. (Have written post on visikord)
The Windows Kinect will only work with Windows 7 PC and you can download the drivers and Software Development Kit from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/develop/developer-downloads.aspx
32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processors
Dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
USB 2.0 bus dedicated to the Kinect
2 GB of RAM
Graphics card that supports DirectX 9.0c
Also to start coding and developing you own applications you will need Microsoft Visual Studio which is available to download here:
The Windows Kinect is relatively new to developers and as there are not as many applications for it as yet. I feel that within the next year we will begin to see more and more applications arrive as this version is being actively supported by Microsoft.
Here are some more links for you to explore some of the applications being developed for Kinect:
Some excellent blogs to look at regrading the use of the Kinect in Education:
I would be interested to hear from others who have used the Kinect System in education and how they have been using It. The next step for me will be to add some mini reviews of applications I have used in the classroom.