Carl Franklin, a heavy hitter in Microsoft coding circles, claims to have had an “eureka!” moment with the development of GesturePak. This application and SDK is supposed to simplify the development of Kinect based software, especially around gesture recognition.
While GesturePak is focused on Kinect for Windows rather than XBox 360, we can think of at least one game that could have used some better gesture recognition, ahem.
“When Microsoft released the Kinect for Windows SDK beta last year, I tried to write an app to recognize a simple gesture. It was too complex,” Franklin says. “The SDK splits out a stream of joint data (X,Y, and Z axis data points for each of the 20 locations on your body that the Kinect tracks) at 30 frames per second. In order to recognize gestures you have to tack coordinates in space over periods of time, compensate for margin of error, and somehow determine that the user is actually moving deliberately the way you want them to.”
Did you get that? Essentially, Franklin alludes to the fact that programming to track motion is hard. Really hard. He set to remedy this with GesturePak.
Long story short, instead of having to program software to track the complex, fluid movements of human bodies, GesturePak allows developers to focus more on a series of individual poses. If the person progresses through these poses, their motion is recognized and the application, game, etc. recognizes it as a valid movement.
This means that organizations using Kinect say, in medicine, will have better responsive software. This is good, as I wouldn’t want to have my life hanging on by a thread as a doctor, trying to swipe through charts and x-rays, is cursing the screen for not recognizing his hand.
This also has one wishing that Kinect developers start using GesturePak or something similar for better Kinect games.