The Kinect add-on for Microsoft’s Xbox, which allows users to play fully-immersive games as the Kinect tracks your movements and translates them to the screen, is a fun alternative to typical couch potato gaming. But did you know it can also help corporations spy on you? America!
Back in 2011, Microsoft applied for a patent that would allow cameras and sensors, much like the ones embedded in the Kinect, to track how many people are in a room. Developed by Microsoft’s “incubation team,” which is where they test new approaches to hardware, the patent was recently made public. They’re calling the invention a “consumer detector” and it’s just as frightening as it sounds.
Sometimes when you can’t make the trip to Risa, you might feel the need to recreate the pleasure planet in a fully-immersive alternate reality. Who wouldn’t? Ars Technica reports that Microsoft filed a patent last year for a “Holodeck-style, full room immersive display.” Score one for the Star Trek nerds.
The patent, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the Xbox 360′s Kinect add-on, which allows for virtual reality-like game play where users can interact with elements on the TV by moving around in their own physical environment. Microsoft’s patent would allow users to do this, but in a literal 360-degree field, meaning that even the walls, floor and ceiling would become part of the game.
Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, soon your near-dead plants will be able to text you when they desperately need water. [Wall Street Journal]
American Airlines’ pilots can now use iPads throughout the flight. You, a mere wretched passenger, are not so lucky. [The Next Web]
After a stroke left his mother unable to use a keyboard, this dude hacked a Kinect to help her access email, because he is a better son than you. [CNET]
Good news! Some of those pretty women friending you on Facebook might not be spammers. Bad news: They might work for the Taliban. [Wired]