Four years ago, the GestSure team developed the first iteration of what would become the GestSure system using a video game sensor. While Kinect has held true to its gaming roots, it has become much more: a powerful tool with a number of businesses applications.
When they first realized that the Kinect had applications in the medical industry, the sensor had just been hacked. Matt Strickland, now GestSure’s Chief Medical Officer, voiced his frustration with the Operating Room workflow. Accessing medical imaging (MRI, CT scans, etc.) in the operating room was a cumbersome task that involved either scrubbing out or the assistance of additional, non-sterile surgical personnel. GestSure saw the potential for a touchless interface in an industry in which video game sensors seemed to have no place. Having completed an intense development phase, participation in the Kinect Accelerator, an in-hospital trial, and a move into the US market, GestSure has come a long way since its beginnings as the first medical hack of the Kinect.
The new Kinect for Windows (K4W) v2 sensor has increased the potential for further advancements in touchless interfaces. The sensor now offers a significant increase in the field of view as well as depth and video feeds with twice the resolution of the previous generation, which could allow gestural interfaces to pick up more nuanced movements. Users will be able to use more subtle gestures over a greater lateral range within the control space.
The new K4W sensor uses a fundamentally different technology: time-of-flight sensing instead of modified structured light technology of the first generation. The new time-of-flight-based sensor is functional in a wider variety of lighting environments. For instance, the sensor is still usable under bright halogen lights. The improved HD camera in the new sensor is a significant improvement, and will give users a clearer image of the sensor’s view, which should enhance any gestural interface.
The upcoming hackathon in Kitchener-Waterloo (location for the GestSure team’s alma mater, University of Waterloo) will be hosted and supported by Microsft Kinect’s programming team, and represents an excellent opportunity for them and others of the machine vision community to further explore the technology. The GestSure team will be in attendance, and hope to see you there!