The Kinect and Home Automation

Microsoft Kinect

A new, exciting piece of hardware arrived today – a Microsoft Kinect. The Microsoft Kinect (formerly known as ‘Project Natal’) was primarily sold as an accessory for the XBOX game console, but that’s going to change. Microsoft released a Kinect for Windows SDK earlier this year, which enables developers to unlock the possibilities of the Kinect to the Windows platform.

Now this Kinect is really becoming interesting for Domoticans 🙂 Interacting with your Home Automation system by using gestures, speech, tracking people – that really sounds like the next step to me. So when Robin, who’s also a member of Domoticaforum Europe asked me if I would like to have a look at the Kinect, I didn’t hesitate one second – yes, of course!

Before I could start I had to download & install Visual Studio 2010 Express and the Kinect for Windows SDK. Most of the SDK samples are written in C#, so I installed VS C# 2010 Express and the SDK on my Windows 7 machine. After the Kinect arrived, I plugged it in and all the drivers that were needed were installed. I started Visual Studio, started the Speech sample and started saying some colors, cause this sample was setup to recognize the colors red, green and blue. And it did, very well.

One strange thing though – I had to press the ENTER key to stop that sample application? Okay.. there’s a better way to do that for an application that can recognize speech, so the first thing I changed was adding the word “shutdown” to the list of words that should be recognized and added some code that would do just that: shutting down the sample application. And although I’ve never ever done C# before, I did it in a matter of minutes… cool! I think I can work with this.

Although this was a very brief encounter with the Kinect, as far as I can see now, there are great opportunities for this Kinect in the world of Home Automation/Domotica. Now let’s see if I can also recognize gestures; which sounds much more complex and maybe it is – well, I can tell more about that in a few days, or weeks maybe…

Happy Easter!

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