Although no two people learn in exactly the same way, the process of learning typically involves seeing, listening/speaking, and touching. For most young children, all three senses are engaged in the process of grasping a new concept.
For example, when a red wooden block is given to a toddler, they hear the words “red” and “block,” see the color red, and also use their hands to touch and feel the shape of the wooden block.
Uzma Khan, a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, realized the Kinect natural user interface (NUI) could provide similar experiences. She used the Kinect for Windows SDK to create a prototype of an application that utilizes speech and gestures to simplify complex learning, and make early childhood education more fun and interactive.
The application asks young children to perform an activity, such as identify the animals that live on a farm. Using their hands to point to the animals on a computer screen, along with voice commands, the children complete the activities. To reinforce their choices, the application praises them when they make a correct selection.
Using the speech and gesture recognition capabilities of Kinect enables children to not only learn by seeing, listening, and speaking; it lets them actively participate by selecting, copying, moving, and manipulating colors, shapes, objects, patterns, letters, numbers, and much more.
The creation of applications to aid learning for people of all ages is one of the many ways we anticipate Kinect for Windows will be used to enable a future in which computers work more naturally and intelligently to improve our lives.
Sheridan JonesBusiness and Strategy Director, Kinect for Windows
In March, ten startups will converge on Seattle to start developing commercial and gaming applications that utilize Kinect's innovative natural user interface (NUI). As part of the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator program, they will have three months and a wealth of resources—including access to Microsoft and industry mentors—to develop, and then present their applications to angel investors, venture capitalists, Microsoft executives, media, and influential industry leaders.
Since launching in late November, the Kinect Accelerator has received hundreds of applications from over forty countries, proposing transformative, creative innovations for healthcare, fitness, retail, training/simulation, automotive, scientific research, manufacturing, and much more.
Applications are still being accepted, and the Kinect Accelerator team encourages you to apply. Learn more about the application process.
The Kinect Accelerator program is powered by TechStars, one of the most respected technology accelerator programs in the world. Microsoft is working with TechStars to leverage the absolute best startup accelerator methodologies, mentors, and visibility. If you are considering building a business based on the capabilities of Kinect, this is a great opportunity for you.
Dave Drach, Managing Director, Microsoft Emerging Business Team, explains that the Kinect Accelerator program is looking for creative startups that have a passion for driving the next generation of computing. “Starting in the spring of 2012, they will have three months to bring their ideas to life. What will emerge will be applications and business scenarios that we’ve not seen before,” comments Drach.
Read more about the Kinect Accelerator program.
Kinect for Windows team