By Caitlin Vandewater
When we think of Kinect for Xbox, the images that come to mind are probably related to video games. First introduced in 2010 as a way for Xbox to compete with Nintendo’s Wii system, the Kinect was marketed with games that required your whole body to play them. For gamers, this was a step up from the Wii remote system, which as many of us know, does not actually require the entire body, but instead the use of your arm and in some cases, the flick of a wrist.
Ubi Interactive: Turn a Wall into a Touch Screen with Motion Sensor Technology
In March 2012, when Windows announced they would be releasing a Kinect for Windows, they opened up the floor for outside companies to develop and create new uses for the Kinect platform. One of those companies, Ubi Interactive, not only created a new use for the Kinect, but they might just redefine what it means to own and use a touch screen.
According to the Ubi website, with Ubi’s version of the Kinect, users will have the ability to turn any surface into a touch screen, therefore eliminating the need for an expensive projector system or a Smart Board—a large touch-screen compatible whiteboard that is used in conjunction with a computer. The system utilizes the Kinect’s motion sensor technology to track body movement, and like using an iPad or tablet, you use your finger as the cursor. And even better, the only technology you need to use it, other than the Kinect, is the Windows operating system.
The appeal of Ubi’s Kinect is that it is not limited to a specific audience. Anyone who knows how to use Windows and has a surface sufficient to project on can use it. Anything that a Windows PC can do, the Ubi Interactive Kinect can support. Photos can be zoomed in and out of, websites can be scrolled through, games can be played and the technology can be used as an interactive display in a shop. Although it is better suited for presentations and professional use, the possibilities are still endless as to what users can accomplish with this product.
Ringbow: A Video Game Controller for Smartphones and Tablets
Ubi Interactive is not the only company looking to improve and alter the touch screen experience. Ringbow, a company based out of New York, has created a small, remote-like device, meant to enhance gaming on tablets and smartphones. According to Ringbow’s Kickstarter page, the device, which you wear around your pointer finger and control with your thumb, works much like a joystick or computer mouse in that it can highlight and click on apps. When combined with games, it enhances the experience by adding more control of the game’s components.
Although the product is still in the prototype stage, the future for the device is quite promising, as it opens up a new gaming market for tablets and smartphones. Ringbow has already made ties with the AT&T Foundry to develop games that utilize the best of the Ringbow and touch screen features. With the Ringbow, multi-player games can be played on a single tablet or smartphone because the Ringbow is used as a controller, so players no longer need to tap a phone screen or tablet to play, according to AT&T. On top of that, with a product like the Ubi Interactive Kinect system, it adds a whole new flair to the touch screen experience.
The large scale capabilities of the Ubi Kinect, and the simple control of the Ringbow can provide a new genre of gaming to consumers. So far there is no indication that the products are compatible, but if and when they are, it would eliminate the need for a mouse during a PowerPoint presentation, or add a new way to compete with your friends on a grand touch screen level. It will certainly liven up the way we interact and use our tablets and smartphones.
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