Video: Microsoft adds Kinect gesture support for Windows 8

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Microsoft's versatile Kinect device has proven to be quite popular, and not just for gaming on the Xbox 360.

Indeed, Redmond offers a Kinect SDK which offers devs the ability to integrate Kinect-based motion controls into a Windows PC environment.

Recently, Microsoft Research showcased a Kinect-based project that allows the user to navigate Windows 8 using gestures similar to those employed when interacting with a normal touchscreen monitor.

This is an interesting and perhaps a very timely project, as Microsoft has been blaming less-than-stellar Windows 8 sales on the lack of touchscreen devices capable of taking full advantage of the new OS.

The Microsoft Research project allows users to simulate multitouch capability on the PC, manipulate Bing Maps as well as paint basic images all using gestures in the air.

Microsoft researchers also coded a separate application for the Kinect to focus specifically on hand gestures. As you can see in the video above, the Kinect sensor recognizes two distinct hand states - with open hands being seen as blue and closed classified as red. As expected, the gestures recognized by the system are very intuitive and can be picked up by most users very quickly.