If you are familiar with the Xbox 360, then you must know Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows technology that allowed gamers to have an immersive experience with their video games. The University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology or RCAST along with Microsoft Japan have launched trials of new a computer program that uses the gaming technology as a method for the physically challenged folks to communicate and interact with computers.
The Kinect is basically a motion-sensing camera designed for the Xbox 360 console and Windows PC. It tracks the users’ body movements and responds to voice commands. The technology was first used in Xbox and it gave users an enhanced gaming experience. The developers hope to use this aspect of voice recognition and motion sensing in their computer for the physically disabled.
RCAST has worked out complimenting software called OAK (Observation and Access with Kinect), which allows severely disabled people to interact with computers. Using this system, the computer is able to recognize both movement and depth of field. This means that those with severe disabilities and restricted movements will also be able to use it.
The Kinect unit’s camera has been tweaked and optimized to focus on main areas of the user’s body, especially the face and voice recognition. Roping in the assistance of the DO-AT support group, trials of the OAK system are currently underway across Japan. Physically disabled children have been asked to try out the new system and their feedback will help improve the computer.