Today's project is almost a year old, but it continues in our apparent theme of the month, showing how the Kinect is being used in different ways, in many to make the world a little better place...
We’ve seen Kinect for Windows used in some amazing applications, from educational games to physical therapy to interactive shopping, but none has packed greater emotional appeal than the interactive display that debuted in Bristol, England, this autumn. The result of volunteer efforts by Andrew Spooner and Mike Taulty, both of Microsoft UK, the display uses Kinect for Windows technology to engage passersby and inform them about the needs of people in rural Africa—and, in the process, it encourages them to make a micro-loan to help finance small businesses in developing countries.
Spooner, whose wife works for Deki, a UK nonprofit that provides microfinance to entrepreneurs in underdeveloped African countries, came up with the idea. He enlisted his colleague Taulty, and together they created a mockup of an African store that is actually run by one of Deki’s loan recipients. The display was set up in the atrium of the Engine Shed, a hub for tech startups in Bristol, England, where its colorful graphics grab the attention of passersby, inviting them to take a quick quiz about the economic realities in developing countries like Uganda.
That’s where Kinect for Windows comes into play. About six feet in front of the display are three large squares on the floor, marked A, X, and B. The user is instructed to stand on the center square (the one marked X). The virtual storekeeper then asks the user to choose answers A or B in response to a series of brief questions pertaining to economic conditions in rural Africa. The user indicates his or her answers by moving to either square A or B, and the ever-watchful Kinect sensor detects the response and provides appropriate feedback. The BBC ran the following report on the interactive display.
The use of Kinect technology is key to engaging users, all of whom are busy tech entrepreneurs scurrying through the atrium on their way to somewhere else. Few would be likely to stop and spend a few minutes answering questions on a touchscreen display. But a simple game of hopscotch? That can get the attention of even the most harried would-be tech mogul.