Last week was a big one for Microsoft as the company hosted its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco, California, USA. The event saw anticipated mixed reality (MR) head-mounted display (HMD) HoloLens shown off once more, given and on-stage demonstration as well as an in-depth discussion of how it allows users to interact with holograms. During the latter of these two events, Microsoft even detailed how HoloLens descends from the Kinect camera for Xbox consoles.
HoloLens’ Alex Kipman explained as much when asked if HoloLens would interact with Kinect in any way. “The idea of Kinect, quote unquote, is ultimately a set of sensors that understand humans,” Kipman said. “Kinect understands humans in three different perspectives. It understands human speech, it understands human identity, it understands identity, and it understands human gestures. All of those things exist across all versions of windows.
“Identity has become the feature we’ve announced at WinHack this year, called Windows Hello,” he continued. “This idea that I can walk in front of a machine and immediately be logged in securely and safely, right? And you authenticate it with payment instruments and enterprise resources associated with, right? So that has existed; it started in Kinect, many years ago. It’s now a different features that has shown up on all Windows 10 devices.”
Kipman went on to talk about the speech side, citing Microsoft’s Cortana system as something that grew out from Kinect. “On the gesture side of the world, that’s just a piece of human understanding again,” he added. “Those APIs sets for understanding gesture from a human perspective will exist in Windows, HoloLens included, from you plugging in a Kinect that works and is afforded and you love it, but also exist with Intel RealSense sensors, as an example, on bezels of any number of machines coming out this holiday with Windows 10 that will also work and co-exist in HoloLens that you get in front and you start gesturing.
“So when I say – and this is a super important point – APIs for human and environment understanding exist across all versions of Windows, that’s inclusive of all of the work that started on our team on Kinect,” Kipman concluded.
The talk’s host then described Kinect as a sort of ‘grandfather’ of HoloLens. It remains to be seen if two devices will have a wide variety of applications together. In fact, Microsoft is yet to detail just how HoloLens will play a part in the Xbox One console. VRFocus will continue to follow the device closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.