Kinect adding Explorer?

Warren over at the theverge.com  have reported that Microsoft is testing functionality of Explorer on the Xbox using Kinect controls. Here’s what they’ve reported:

Microsoft is currently testing a modified version of Internet Explorer 9 on its Xbox 360 console, according to our sources. The Xbox 360 currently includes Bing voice search, but it’s limited to media results. Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer browser for Xbox will expand on this functionality to open up a full browser for the console. We are told that the browser will let Xbox users surf all parts of the web straight from their living rooms.

Microsoft has also integrated Kinect gestures and voice control heavily into the experience, allowing Xbox owners to quickly search using the existing Bing functionality and pull up relevant web pages. Kinect support is not mandatory according to our sources, but the browser is said to be tuned for Kinect usage. There’s no word on a launch date for Internet Explorer on Xbox, but with E3 on the horizon we’d expect to hear the official details from Microsoft in a matter of weeks.

ComputerSo what does this say for NUI? Microsoft is really pushing hard for a controllerless society. Sure you could use an Xbox TypePad but why would you? In my internet experience I have mainly used brief snippets of text to navigate the web. Either by entering a URL or a search term. From there it’s a matter of reading and selecting what you want and where you want to go. Using NUI for web surfing is a “Natural” fit. It just gets us one more step closer to smart homes and being able to say into a room: “Computer, run a level 5 diagnostics on the life support system,” and getting a reply to something like, “Temperature is at 67 degrees farenheit, internal temperature distribution and return network is at optimum operating parameters.”

“Hello Computer.”

One of my favorite Human-Computer interactions in Cinema was the scene in Star Trek IV where Scotty interacts with the computer at the manufacturing plant. This has always stuck with me as a display of how we expected technology to change. For me, prior to the movie, I never gave much thought to how we interacted with computers. Seeing this as a kid made me realize that the human/computer interface will continue to change and so will our expectations. As I sit here and type this I know that my days of using a keyboard are numbered. I will explore current and upcoming voice recognition technologies in upcoming posts.

The below video is a bit long… so if you want to skip ahead to the best part follow the link below the video!


Skip to Scotty using the computer…
Scotty Using the Keyboard