Just A So So Experience With Controlling Xbox Through Voice

After the new Xbox Dashboard update for Xbox yesterday, I’m now able to control Xbox with voice in a more extensive way.  Still, I think when I’m talking to Xbox, it does feel as if I’m talking to a stupid robot!  Sometimes, I have to repeat my commands.  At other times, I have to figure out what to say first before Xbox could wake up and understand me.  Often times, I have to make sure there is a black panel on the bottom of the screen of the dashboard, because without it, there won’t be a small microphone icon and I won’t be able to talk to Xbox.  I also notice there are windows within Xbox Live, I often stumble upon, require me to use my controller still.

I think Microsoft has released a better Xbox Dashboard, but I’m not impressed.  Sure, the new Xbox Dashboard is way better than the old one, but voice controller is somewhat iffy still that I prefer the use of the controller.  If I’m not wrong, Microsoft should be hard at work in improving the intelligence behind the technology which allows Kinect and Xbox to be able to process the words that come out from the mouth of any human.  If Microsoft isn’t, then I think Xbox will eventually lose luster and play catch up to something else that does it better in respect to voice intelligence.

I think voice intelligence that is able to understand the words that come out of the mouth of any human in natural way will be very popular and useful in many ways in the future.  One example would be telling a device to search for something on the Internet.  OK, sure, Xbox is now allowing users/gamers use voice commands and demand Bing to search for something, but I’ve found out that it’s rather hard to do so.  Either I’m clueless how Xbox Bing should work, because for the life of me I could not ask Xbox Bing to search for what I want.  Correct me if I’m wrong, perhaps Xbox Bing is only searching for games, music, videos, movies, and whatever else that is available on Xbox Live and console.  If this is the case, then Xbox Bing isn’t yet capable in searching the entire Internet as how Bing normally does through a web browser.

Shutting down Xbox through voice is fun if you know how to; the correct way is by saying “Xbox Go Home, Settings, Turn Off , Yes.”  This is why Microsoft definitely needs to make Xbox understands longer phrases in natural way and not through specific commands.  Nonetheless, it’s easier now for Xbox users/gamers to control Xbox through voice than before.

In summary, it’s now possible for Xbox users/gamers to play movies, music, games, and do other things with voice commands.  Before, Xbox users/gamers could only command Xbox through voice in a more limited way.  Still, Xbox voice intelligence leaves much to be improved, because it’s not natural for users/gamers to remember specific commands and reading what could be read inside Xbox Dashboard and other sections inside Xbox Live.  It’s much better if users/gamers can just speak naturally to Xbox.  Xbox isn’t Siri, but don’t we wish Xbox is capable as Siri?  How about even better, I think Xbox should be able to talk back to Xbox users/gamers in a natural way.

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Kinect For Windows Hardware Will Be Different Than Kinect For Xbox 360, Allowing Users To Use At Closer Range, As Close As 50 Centimeters

Kinect sensor as shown at the 2010 Electronic ...

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It’s not a surprise to see Microsoft announces that it will release Kinect for Windows in early 2012, but it’s a surprise to hear that Kinect for Windows will come with newer hardware and firmware.  According to LATimes’ article “Kinect is coming to Windows, but are TVs next?” — Unlike Kinect for Xbox 360, Kinect for Windows users will be able to use Kinect at close range (i.e., as close as 50 centimeters).  So, it seems Kinect for Windows is more flexible than Kinect for Xbox 360, because many computer users do actually stay nearer to their monitors.  Kinect for Windows will work with Windows 7 and Windows 8.

I think Kinect for Windows is great, but it might not be a must have!  Perhaps, I might be shortsighted on this matter, but I think Windows users who stay only inches away from their monitors might not think that it’s a good idea to wave their hands around to communicate with Kinect.  The plus side though that Kinect can recognize voices, therefore it might still be a good idea to use Kinect at close range through the use of Kinect voice recognition.  This makes me so wish to see Microsoft comes out something similar to Apple’s Siri and couples such technology with Kinect or builds it into Kinect so users like us can finally have a personal assistant while using our Windows.

Source:  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/11/kinect-for-windows-and-soon-tvs.html

Microsoft Researches On Bringing About Augmented Reality To Life With Kinect

Virtual reality uses multimedia content. Appli...

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Few movies had been made to tackle the idea of blending virtuality with reality in away that gamers could not discern the differences between reality and otherwise.  Of course, I don’t think Microsoft is anywhere near in engineering such a feat, but I think they’re definitely onto something close to that.  Perhaps, I’m wrong about how close or how far Microsoft’s research department has progressed toward such a goal.  Still, it doesn’t matter, because the more they try, I guess it’s safely to assume that the more awesome there might be for such possibilities (i.e., technology) to come about and bring a host of benefits not only to gaming industry but to other industries as well.  I think medical industry might reap great benefits from this kind of futuristic technology.

Microsoft goes far by implementing a technology which partly uses Kinect to either permanently or temporarily blend the augmented reality and virtuality onto physical coordinates.  The projections of the augmented reality and virtuality can be applied on any surface.  Microsoft’s research department were even able to projected augmented virtuality and virtuality onto a hand of a human.  I’ve hinted before that this kind of technology might lead us to something much more awesome, but nobody knows for sure what that will be yet.  What I can imagine is that by combining holographic technology and what Microsoft is working on now (i.e., the technology we’re talking about in this article) into the same environment can be even more dazzling.

I had written an article “Imagining The TV Of The Future, Don’t Laugh!” — this article proposes on why TV of the future might be very different in a way that users might be able to change the reality of the ongoing scenes inside the TV.  The article also suggests how users might be able to project movie scenes into reality with no consequences whatsoever since the projections are digital and nothing more.  The article also suggests the injections of either a personal avatar or oneself into the movie scenes as if virtual reality or augmented reality is happening.  Perhaps, the article’s suggestions aren’t so outright nut, because Microsoft’s research department is doing something just as awesome!

Source:  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/11/real-life-holodecks-microsoft-kinect-augmented-reality-room-is-the-closest-thing-yet/

Siri Should Be Everyone’s Personal Assistant

I don’t have Siri yet, but I’ve already heard many positive things about Siri.  Here is one for you, the TechnologyReview’s article Could Apple TV Use Siri? makes a good point!  Now, this where I think Apple’s tightly controlled operations of how certain products should be marketed and produced is no longer effective when it comes to a product such as Siri.  I think, instead of allowing only iPhone 4S to have Siri, Apple should have enabled Siri on all of its products (i.e., all devices).

Apple’s Siri is probably the best of its kind out there right now, but only right now if you know what I mean — wink, wink!!!  Just take a look at Microsoft, this company is well known for working with voice recognition and it has Kinect to boost its technological edge.  Now, Microsoft needs a brain for Kinect!

When Microsoft’s Kinect gets something even better than Siri, I think Apple will be sorry for not allowing Siri to be even more prolific.  Microsoft also has the intention in getting Kinect to be on all devices that run its platforms.  So, soon we will see Kinect to be used with PCs and Windows Phone 7 and more.  Coupling something better than Siri with Kinect this/that way, I can imagine how sorry Apple will be!

Apple is having one up at the moment, and yet it fails to take the advantage of something good.  Instead, it decides to play the wall garden hardware/software strategy.  People know they want Siri very much at the moment, but not everyone will have the money or the will to upgrade to iPhone 4S just for Siri (i.e., they can wait for iPhone 5).  While people are waiting for iPhone 5, a short window of time opens up for Microsoft and others to cook something even more potent than Siri and to release that something awesome everywhere at prices that make people care not for getting iPhone 4S or iPhone 5.  Microsoft and others probably by now knowing that Siri is something people really want, and so these companies will push hard and fast for something better than Siri.

Only Microsoft has the biggest edge, because it has Kinect.  Think about you can talk with a personal assistant as Siri in intelligible manner and yet you can also control anything with hand gestures, isn’t this even better than just Siri alone?  It’s a match makes in heaven for the two technology to be combined.

Some people prefer to use hand gestures at night time, because whispering will wake their partners up from sleep.  OK, that sounds like hardcore, no life, gamers who play games throughout the night and do not want to wake their partners up from sleep.  Nonetheless, that is only one example of how Kinect and Siri combination can be so enticing!  I think other people will be even more imaginative in their use of a something that combines the capabilities of Kinect and Siri together.

I think Apple should make Siri to be available in all of its products (e.g., hardware, software).  Remember Microsoft Word’s paperclip?  Why not Apple’s Siri in everything, because it is way better than Microsoft Word’s paperclip.  Siri isn’t meant to be walled inside one kind of devices, but Microsoft Word’s paperclip is meant to be walled inside the Microsoft Word’s wall garden only!

The TechnologyReview’s article Could Apple TV Use Siri? makes a good point, therefore Apple should listen!  Otherwise, Apple will see something better than Siri from a competitor to be even more prolific than Siri in term of grabbing the marketshare.  Proof?  Just take at how Google’s Android platform is able to spread like wildfire, because Apple is not effectively opening its iOS platform up for even more devices!  Apple should not make the iOS mistake for its Siri, because Siri isn’t iOS — it’s something much more, something closer to what most people want!  Can it be something as science fiction’s artificial intelligence which can understand humans and have a real conversation with humans and have feeling for humans?

TV, TV On The Wall, Who’s The Fairest Skeleton Of All? And Kinect Replies!

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all?  In this case, TV, TV on the wall, who’s the fairest skeleton of all?  Kinect has now had a decent arsenal of tricks such as this one here where researchers at Technical University of Munich rely on Kinect to project augmented reality.  They have Kinect projects skeletal parts that match with the test subject’s real body parts as he/she moves around.  Unfortunately, Kinect itself cannot capture the real skeletal parts but only use to project augmented reality, the test subject still has to go through the process of having a 3D CT scan.

Source: http://www.ditii.com/2011/01/04/kinect-hack-augmented-reality-magic-mirror-simulates-your-skeletal-x-ray/

Using Kinect To Play World Of Warcraft, And Other Computer Games

Kinect sensor as shown at the 2010 Electronic ...

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The talented researchers and developers at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies are in the process of developing a software known as FAAST.  This amazing software acts as an interpreter of sort for Kinect(s) and computers so any body movement can be translated into the signals that the computers can understand.  This means you can play any game that is not yet compatible with Kinect on your computer but using the Kinect to translate your body movements — that’s your body is a controller for any game.

They’ve tested the FAAST software with a very popular MMORPG (i.e., Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) known as World of Warcraft (i.e., WOW).  In my opinion, it may be too much of a workout to use Kinect with WOW since WOW gamers usually play the game for hours on end.  Nonetheless, whoever wants a really good workout and have fun at the same time, FAAST will be perfect for such a purpose.

Watch the YouTube‘s video which demonstrates how FAAST works when playing WOW after the break.  A speaker in this video also suggests that you can download FAAST for free!

Source: http://ingame.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/28/5725872-kinect-meets-world-of-warcraft