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Kinect for Windows, Ubi Turns Any Surface into Touch Screen

By - Source: Microsoft | B 8 comments

Anup Chathoth, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based startup Ubi Interactive, has updated Microsoft's Kinect for Windows blog with news that Microsoft's motion sensing device for the PC can now turn nearly any surface into a touch-capable screen. All potential users need is the Windows-based Kinect sensor, a projector, a Windows 8 PC and the Ubi software which just came out of beta and is now available to purchase.

"We want human collaboration and information to be just one finger touch away, no matter where you are," Chathoth wrote. "By making it possible to turn any surface into a touch screen, we eliminate the need for screen hardware and thereby reduce the cost and extend the possibilities of enabling interactive displays in places where they were not previously feasible -- such as on walls in public spaces."

The price of the software depends on the size of the projected screen and number of touch inputs. The Basic version costs $149 and enables a single input on a 45 inch display. Support is provided by the company's forum only. The next three packages support 100 inch screens, but provide different touch inputs and support options: Professional for one input and 48-hour email response for $379, Business for two inputs and 24-hour email response for $799, and Enterprise for 20 inputs and same-day priority support via phone for $1499.

Chathoth said construction company The Walsh Group has been using the setup since June 2012 to display an interactive 3D blueprint on a wall rather than present clients with drawings. The clients can see the resulting building as if looking through a window, but interact with it by merely touching the projected image. Company innovation manager Patrick Wirtz calls Ubi "futuristic-like technology" that can be used today.

"I didn’t want to spend $10,000," he said. "I already had a projector and a computer. All I needed to purchase was the software and a $250 Kinect for Windows sensor. With this small investment, I can now turn any surface into a touch screen. It’s a powerful piece of technology."

The potential applications aren't just geared for architecture. Teachers can instruct classes in an interactive lecture hall, and shoppers could even access product information on a store's window front even after hours. Recipes could be projected onto kitchen countertops and Angry Birds could be played across a bedroom floor. The possibilities, according to Chathoth, are endless.

"Our technology has implications of revolutionizing the way people live their lives on a global level," Chathoth said. "After private beta evaluation with more than 50 organizations, the Ubi software is now available for ordering."

For more information about the software, head here. Naturally, Kinect for Windows, a projector and a Windows 8 PC are sold separately.

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  • -1 Hide
    digiex , August 26, 2013 11:47 AM
    Can somebody turn air into a virtual touch, Stark style.
  • 5 Hide
    stevejnb , August 26, 2013 12:11 PM
    Things like this are why I feel that people are missing the boat with the distaste for Kinect as a control scheme. The current gen Kinect is hobbled by two things - the first being that it is a relatively inaccurate device, and the second is that developers aren't going to support it because they only get partial penetration into the markets the device is on. The XBOX One may solve both, but we've yet to see how it sells (if it sells well then developers who work on it know that 100% of XB1 users have it) and we've yet to see how accurate it is.

    Things like turning your index finger into an accurate pointer controller, or turning any surface into the touch component of a touch screen, tapping your finger on your table twice for a double click or tracing your finger along that same surface to move the mouse pointer. If small versions of a Kinect like device could be put into tablets, the possibilities for control schemes incorporating the environment are huge.

    The Kinect - or devices like it - could be a big part of the future of how we interact with computers if it is supported. Part of why, even if I currently have no need for one, I don't mind they way they are doing the XB1, is that it will give developers a reason to start to look at Kinect like devices seriously. Add in solid PC support, and an OS like Windows 8 - or a future desktop Android - and you've got a lot of compelling reasons for developers to start to really milk the potential of Kinect type devices. Sony forced an unnecessary Blu Ray on us to spur its adoption and it worked, and I know 2/3 of this bloody forum *loves* Blu Ray... Are you all really so shortsighted that you're being fooled by MS pulling the same type of move this generation, but with Kinect being the forced component?
  • 3 Hide
    ubercake , August 26, 2013 12:20 PM
    Kinect is innovation. It's exciting to see what MS is doing with the XBOX One and the Kinect.

    There's no reason this same tech shouldn't be running on PCs of those who choose to run with it.
  • 0 Hide
    illuminatuz , August 26, 2013 1:43 PM
    This was already researched and implemented in NOKIA N8 when it was launched!!
    I don't know who is copying who.. but both the outputs are same and the difference is that nokia uses its camera to sense the motion and kinetic maybe uses some other sensor.
  • 0 Hide
    illuminatuz , August 26, 2013 1:44 PM
    btw forgot to add.. I don't even know whether they are individual reserach or copy.. please disregard the copying part in my previous comment.
  • 0 Hide
    Rob Smith , August 26, 2013 3:01 PM
    Have a look at http://www.touchlesstouch.com it's been around for a while and is essentially the same solution, but only $60, supports 128 touch points, works with kinect and Primesense / Openni devices and supports over 200" displays.
    Also works on Windows 7 and Windows 8!
  • 0 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , August 27, 2013 11:49 AM
    This Kinect is definitely one the coolest technologies Microsoft has put out.
  • 0 Hide
    hetneo , August 28, 2013 12:52 AM
    This is great idea, but their customer support scheme is rubbish and will hurt their bottom line.