That cool sci-fi future we all dream of is one step close to being a reality, thanks to a German software designer and Microsoft's motion controller.
It's been just over a week since Kinect launched, and in that time people with more technical skills than most of us will ever possess have figured how to get it working on computers and made that information available to the public. But the work hasn't stopped there, as Dr. Florian Echtler, who works at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, has created a proof of concept multitouch interface using the Kinect hardware.
Echtler took the driver that Hector Martin released a few days ago and combined it with his own work on open-source multitouch interfaces to create a working prototype that allowed him to manipulate pictures just by pointing at the screen. The sensor seems to be able to recognize the shape that Echtler is making with his hand, and can tell the difference between him pointing at a particular photo in order to resize it, or using a flat palm in order to move a picture around. In his comments on his YouTube video, Echtler jokes that he wanted to get the "mandatory picture-browsing stuff" out of the way so that others could focus on more interesting things.
It's not quite on a par with the Minority Report system just yet, but it's a pretty cool first step, especially with such short time with the hardware. Of course, this is also a step down the road towards murderous robot houses, but I suppose we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.