Microsoft's motion recognition technology won't just be used for gaming, but will make its way to Windows as well, where it can be used for "collaboration and communication," Bill Gates said.
Project Natal looked the first step toward a future where the sci-fi gesture-based interfaces in Minority Report are real, but, if Bill Gates has its way, it'll be more than a single step, it'll be a leap forward. Natal's motion and depth sensing camera technology, Gates says, won't just be used for gaming, but will make its way to Windows as well, where developers can use it for much more than just high-tech versions of Breakout.
"I'd say a cool example of [new Microsoft technology in the works], that you'll see... in a little over a year, is this (depth) camera thing," Gates told CNET, referring to the same technology Natal uses, which he says won't just be for games but "for media consumption as a whole, and even if they connect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication."
It's not surprising that Natal's moving beyond uses in gaming, since, as Gates revealed, it has its origins in general Microsoft research and not just the Xbox division. "Both the Xbox guys and the Windows guys latched onto that and now even since they latched onto it the idea of how it can be used in the office is getting much more concrete, and is pretty exciting," Gates said.
Indeed, beyond use in the home, Gates seems to be most excited about how Natal could function in an office environment. "And I think there's incredible value as we use that in the office connected to a Windows PC," he said. "So Microsoft research and the product groups have a lot going on there, because you can use the cost reduction that will take place over the years to say, why shouldn't that be in most office environments?"
Natal-based PowerPoint presentations? That could make those daily meetings a lot more interesting.