Master Showman Steven P. Jobs, who is now no longer just hero to the tragically hip, but App Lovers of all sorts, stockholders, and more, claims many things i to be Magic. I’m no longer so sure about that. The all around User Experience (UX) of my relatively new iThings is great. My first move into Appledom was the iPhone a couple of years ago. I’ve since added an iPad, which I find amazingly useful for a whole variety of things. And I type this on my two month old MacBook Pro, which is a week away from fully displacing an old PC.
But magic? No. Linux? Yes. GREAT industrial design? Yes. Even beauty? Yes. Magic? Ok, I said no, but maybe a little. But today… today I saw something different. Apple says Think Different. But Microsoft, who’s been seemingly asleep at the switch for awhile and especially in Mobile, has just impressed me. Big Time. A bunch of someone’s have been busy back in the lab. The place where real science happens. And they’ve come up with a consumer gadget that’s going to have who knows what kind of other long term implications for how we interact with machines. As with so many things, I think this friendly, innocent, game play introduction to this technology is just a harbinger of things to come.
My wife and I had some time to kill today while we waited for some work to be done on her car. And we head over to the Best Buy to look at some small TV’s for our basement where we’re putting in some exercise equipment. And at one point in the past we were thinking about a Wii. Then we see this big demo. Microsoft’s new Kinect. Using cameras, this thing was tracking body movement down to finger movement level and the game play / refresh rate on screen matched body movement fairly well. It even caught one kid’s movements just scratching the back of his head.
It wasn’t just the demo we saw or experienced; it was these two kids using it. They were maybe 12 or 13 years old jumping around using this thing. (They – ideally – won’t know what low back pain is for another 20 – 30 years.) They are rocking this thing. Learning curve? If there was one, it was fast and gone. The display table nearby had a bunch of the early games. All of which looked pretty cool. They even have a boxing one which I’m psyched about. Ever since we’ve moved here I’ve been annoyed there’s no local kickboxing gym like our old place. Now we can have training in the house. And I mean training. Not just follow along, but where the virtual instructor can see your behavior and show you just how to correct it. I had a MIDI keyboard once with some training software that did this. Very effective stuff. To have this available for body kinesthetics as well? Awesome. Just super awesome. I’m sure it’s not perfect yet, but… we’re going to find out. Definitely buying this thing soon.
While I’m sure over time there’ll be some props appropriate to use with this device, (ski poles, whatever), the idea of not having to use any nunchuck controllers, collections of various cheap plastic controllers and so on is great. (No worries about broken straps sending controllers through televisions or someone’s head either.)
Oh yeah, one other benefit? Well, what helped me sell my wife on it is all the great exercise stuff. But part of the truth is I just can’t get Halo for my PS3.