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Built-In Kinect for Mobile Devices a Battery Killer

By - Source: The Daily | B 15 comments

Integrated Kinect technology is reportedly draining the battery in mobile prototypes.

Last week brought a hands-on report by The Daily claiming two prototype Windows 8 netbooks from Asus with built-in Kinect sensors were out in the wild. Now a week later, the site reports that Asus wasn't directly involved with those two prototypes, but there's still a good chance the manufacturer will be one of the launch partners given that it's already a partner with PrimeSense, the Israeli developer responsible for Kinect's 3D motion-sensing hardware.

Since last week, The Daily has learned that Microsoft is in fact licensing out Kinect technology to manufacturers like Asus, but the catch is that they can't use other motion-controlled tech in their devices. There are also more prototypes out in the field than the two seen last week, reportedly used in coffee shops and bars so that the sensors can be fine-tuned in noisy, crowded environments.

So far the drawback to Kinect-based mobile devices (namely laptops, netbooks) is that the technology consumes a lot of power. According to the report, the prototype devices must be plugged in whenever possible. One solution may be that Kinect will need to be an add-on peripheral with its own power supply and/or rechargeable battery pack, especially on netbooks and notebooks with smaller batteries.

On the software front, Microsoft will reportedly allow manufacturers to customized Windows 8 on Kinect-based devices much like smartphone manufacturers can customize Google's Android OS to their liking. There's also an app currently in use on prototypes called "log me in" which uses the Kinect hardware to analyze both the user's face and voice when he/she sits in front of the device and speaks the password. If both face and voice match, then the user is granted access.

As revealed earlier this month during CES 2012, Microsoft will release the Kinect for Windows SDK to developer tomorrow, February 1. This means Kinect drivers and APIs will be available to both commercial software developers and the general public. Microsoft said it's currently working with more than 200 companies to build applications for Windows that take advantage of Kinect's technology.

"We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable," said Craig Eisler, General Manager, Kinect for Windows.

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  • 2 Hide
    house70 , February 2, 2012 8:11 PM
    What is the purpose of a built-in kinect device on a laptop, tablet or netbook? What exactly do they hope to achieve? Recognize when the user sat in front of it, so it can resume from stand-by? Nobody can touch the trackpad anymore?
    I mean these questions; I do not see any advantage of having one built-in.
    I can see a peripheral-based kinect for, say, desktops, in a gaming-oriented environment. Even if some business-related uses could come up, it could still be a peripheral, not a built-in.
  • -1 Hide
    cybneo , February 2, 2012 8:12 PM
    I'll have to DL the SDK. seems pretty interesting if i could code some neat apps for home use. voice commands + gestures = WIN
  • -3 Hide
    southernshark , February 2, 2012 8:15 PM
    It would be cool to surf the net just by moving my hand. But the price needs to be reasonable, like 25 bucks more. I don't see many people, except maybe MAC users, spending an extra 250 to do this.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , February 2, 2012 8:37 PM
    Kinect for mobile systems, this ought to be REALLY interesting. Let the flailing idiocy in public commence!

    I wonder how long it takes for people to realize that it's actually faster (and in some cases more discrete) to use a physical control device than it is to voice/motion a command.
  • 6 Hide
    soccerdocks , February 2, 2012 8:53 PM
    southernsharkIt would be cool to surf the net just by moving my hand.


    Its something that would be cool for about 30 minutes (like the original Kinect or Wii sports). After that you realize its a gimmick and is a really clumsy control interface. This type of technology will never get to the point where it is more accurate or easy to use than current physical control devices (mice).
  • 0 Hide
    rohitbaran , February 2, 2012 8:58 PM
    house70What is the purpose of a built-in kinect device on a laptop, tablet or netbook? What exactly do they hope to achieve? Recognize when the user sat in front of it, so it can resume from stand-by? Nobody can touch the trackpad anymore?I mean these questions; I do not see any advantage of having one built-in. I can see a peripheral-based kinect for, say, desktops, in a gaming-oriented environment. Even if some business-related uses could come up, it could still be a peripheral, not a built-in.

    It is about what level of comfort and control you want and you can pay for. If someone has the money, they will most likely buy a mobile device with kinect, just for the kicks if nothing else.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 2, 2012 9:57 PM
    How about you could use the touchscreen interface of your tablet, but not actually touch it, net result being no more greasy fingerprints so you can use your machine and eat a bucket of fried chicken at the same time.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 2, 2012 10:16 PM
    If my PC had a kinect login mine would be "You don't need to see my identification" as I wave my hand... :-)
  • 3 Hide
    bebangs , February 3, 2012 12:06 AM
    Quote:
    What is the purpose of a built-in kinect device on a laptop, tablet or netbook? What exactly do they hope to achieve?

    Quote:
    If my PC had a kinect login mine would be "You don't need to see my identification" as I wave my hand... :-)


    So I could login like this... on any device.


  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 3, 2012 1:58 AM
    I wonder how it'd perform on a DROID RAZR MAXX.
  • 0 Hide
    stephencollier , February 3, 2012 6:31 AM
    This is one of those solutions without the problem. But someone will eventually come up with some good uses. It'd be nice to have a desktop version to do motion capture for 3D animations... if I did 3D animations. heheheh
  • 0 Hide
    AndrewMD , February 3, 2012 10:28 AM
    I would love to see Kinects integrated into big screen TVs and computer monitors. While some people will never understand why it was made or think that these are gimmick devices, there was a time with people thought computers were gimmick devices.. now look where we are...

    As far as battery life (pertaining to this article) of course the battery is going to suffer if the unit is on all the time. Something tells me they will integrate some smart energy saver technology to turn the unit off when it is not used.
  • 0 Hide
    guardianangel42 , February 3, 2012 12:06 PM
    stephencollierThis is one of those solutions without the problem. But someone will eventually come up with some good uses. It'd be nice to have a desktop version to do motion capture for 3D animations... if I did 3D animations. heheheh


    Windows 8 Metro UI.

    Yeah, no one can blame Microsoft for not planning ahead.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 3, 2012 9:57 PM
    stephencollierThis is one of those solutions without the problem. But someone will eventually come up with some good uses. It'd be nice to have a desktop version to do motion capture for 3D animations... if I did 3D animations. heheheh
    Motion-sensing camera or just explode the battery when nearby movement detected.

    I can't wait to see what malware takes advantage of this.
  • 0 Hide
    bloc97 , February 5, 2012 10:48 PM
    Lol... and I bet that Mac's will put an PlayStation Move in their mac book pr... *hum* I meant shiz in response of this...