Microsoft Cube makes for Kinect Fun

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Gordon Beeming and I were at the Microsoft MVP Summit last week and had the awesome opportunity to visit the Microsoft Maker Garage, were we found, and played with for a while, the Microsoft Cube. Seeing it action meant I just had to blog about it here... :)


360 degree view of the Maker Garage, which was filled with all kinds of tools and stuff. Wall of tools, 3D printers, laser cutters to name just a few.

Microsoft’s Cube debuts at Decibel, creating a one-of-a-kind digital dance party


Imagine a giant three-dimensional object that creates a virtual space, while at the same time encouraging real-life interaction. Outside, it is 4-feet square. Inside, it is powered by five computers and four Kinects working in concert.

Introducing the Cube: Microsoft’s interactive art installation, unveiled this week at Seattle’s Decibel Festival, a celebration of electronic music, visual art and new media.

Born from a brainstorm of how to create something that would uniquely live at the intersection of technology and design, the Cube and its multiple Kinects invites onlookers to become part of the art.

“The Cube is a canvas for a new kind of creative expression,” explains Michael Megalli, senior director of brand strategy at Microsoft. “It’s an appliance that creates public space.”


Microsoft looked to the creative development community to help write the code for the Cube’s dance party debut at Decibel, partnering with Stimulant, a Seattle-based digital design firm specializing in interactive installations.

“The Cube, with the combination of the Kinect technology and software stack, is something that could only be done at Microsoft. And we’re using it to create this cool experience,” says Josh Santangelo, Stimulant’s technical director.

People may think they’ve seen all kinds of digital art, but the Cube will delight even the most jaded festival-goer, Santangelo predicts. “You can gather around it and dance,” he says. “It’s super fun.”

Likewise, Goodner predicts his friends in the developer community will be blown away by the Cube.

“We’ve built a 4-foot cube with a continuous projection surface and four Kinects inside of it,” he says. “Where else are you going to do that?”

The entire structure sits atop a 2-foot tall base. The idea, eventually, is to make an even bigger Cube, or Cubes — perhaps Cubes that even talk to each other.

“It could be a stage for performance, a blackboard for education, a display case for museum artifacts,” explains Megalli. “It could be a communications device to bring people together in unexpected ways.”

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