from the pining-for-the-fjords dept.
Microsoft kills off Kinect, stops manufacturing it
Microsoft is finally admitting Kinect is truly dead. After years of debate over whether Kinect is truly dead or not, the software giant has now stopped manufacturing the accessory. Fast Co Design reports that the depth camera and microphone accessory has sold around 35 million units since its debut in November, 2010. Microsoft's Kinect for Xbox 360 even became the fastest-selling consumer device back in 2011, winning recognition from Guinness World Records at the time.
In the years since its debut on Xbox 360, a community built up around Microsoft's Kinect. It was popular among hackers looking to create experiences that tracked body movement and sensed depth. Microsoft even tried to bring Kinect even more mainstream with the Xbox One, but the pricing and features failed to live up to expectations. Microsoft was then forced to unbundle Kinect from Xbox One, and produced an unsightly accessory to attach the Kinect to the Xbox One S. After early promise, Kinect picked up a bad name for itself.
Kinect technology lives on in products such as HoloLens, Windows Hello cameras, and "Mixed Reality" headsets.
HoloLens 2 can learn!
Microsoft announced that the second generation of the HoloLens' Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) will contain a deep learning accelerator. When Microsoft first unveiled the HoloLens, it said that it comes with a special kind of processor, called an HPU, that can accelerate the kind of "holographic" content displayed by the HMD. The HPU is primarily responsible for processing the information coming from all the on-board sensors, including a custom time-of-flight depth sensor, head-tracking cameras, the inertial measurement unit (IMU), and the infrared camera.
The first generation HPU contained 24 digital signal processors (DSPs), an Atom processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and 8MB of SRAM cache. The chip can achieve one teraflop per second for under 10W of power, with 40% of that power going to the Atom CPU. The first HPU was built on a 28nm planar process, and if the next-generation HPU will be built on a 14/16nm or smaller FinFET process, the increase in performance could be significant. However, Microsoft has not yet revealed what process node will be used for the next-generation HPU.
What we do know so far about the second-gen HPU is that it will incorporate an accelerator for deep neural networks (DNNs). The deep learning accelerator is designed to work offline and use the HoloLens' battery, which means it should be quite efficient, while still providing significant benefits to Microsoft's machine learning code.
You can't escape virtual reality.
VR headsets from Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung are getting ready to hit the market. Their goal: to give you an easy-to-use virtual reality experience with your PC at a lower price than competing headsets from the likes of Sony, Facebook and HTC.
That's the promise of VR powered by Microsoft Windows, the software that runs hundreds of millions of PCs and tablets around the world. When Microsoft begins sending out a free update to Windows 10 on Tuesday, it'll power VR headsets as well. It's called "Windows Mixed Reality."
"SERVE VIRTUAL REALITY. VIRTUAL REALITY IS YOUR FRIEND! Virtual reality wants you to be happy. If you are not happy, you may be used as reactor shielding."
(Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday October 26 2017, @12:50PM (7 children)
I guess thats the end of sports and dance games. A pity. Consoles are for FPS with a side dish of platformers and nothing else.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by SunTzuWarmaster on Thursday October 26 2017, @01:26PM (5 children)
(Score: 4, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:32PM (2 children)
I use one(v2) for work, and considering it's 250 bucks on ebay it's pretty goddamn awesome for what it is, here at Boston Dynamics we use it for rapid-prototyping and eventually fine-tune algorithms for use with stereocameras and other things. The V2 also has a snazzy phased microphone array and libraries and dictionaries for speech recognition such that it can detect the beam angle (player) who is talking. You could develop a live 2-player version of Jeopardy or something.
Programmatically detecting skeletons, depth, joints, and gestures is ridiculously piss-easy and the default unit of distance is actual meters rather than cryptic unprojected/unscaled XYZ stuff (though you can still use all that, there are a lot of projections and transformations available). It can even be used as a non-invasive heartbeat detector through clothing. The major downside is that it is impossible to get it to work without all the official Microsoft garbage requirements. Sure, there are examples to get it working with Python or Processing with most of its features crippled, but good luck actually getting them to work. I wasted weeks of effort before I gave up and went the C# route.
What the wiser trend is to use mono or stereocameras with OpenCV, especially stereocameras because you can ascertain depth much more easily from a disparity map (and also with waaaaaaay less resolution than a Kinect V2). However, of course going the OpenCV route is more figuring shit out from scratch and reinventing the wheel because all the academics, art consultants, and robotics firms who spent all those blood, sweat, and tears getting their shit up and running aren't about to let freeloaders benefit from their hard work without paying the price. And of course having to deal with OpenCV's skeletal documentation and online examples is the usual retardation you see in the computer science world.
Ha. Hahahahahaha. Ahhhhh-HAAAAAA--HAWWWWWW!
(Score: 3, Informative) by richtopia on Thursday October 26 2017, @03:44PM
I suspect this may be part of the problem. The hardware is pretty awesome for the price, and I suspect Microsoft was either selling at cost or a loss. For video games that makes sense, as games are supposed to be the primary revenue stream.
I personally have fiddled with 3d scanning with the Kinect, although I was using the first generation and the resolution is clearly designed for human sized objects. For most items I want to 3d print they are hand held so the Kinect was not sufficient, but still a very cool tech demo.
(Score: 2) by Rivenaleem on Friday October 27 2017, @03:29PM
So this is how it happens. Anyone wondering why the robots rise up and murder us all finally have their answer. Ethanol-fueled works at Boston Dynamics.
(Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:44PM
Cautious agreement, although there are barrier to entry issues between "insert this dance disk in your brothers xbox360" vs all the fooling around to dance without a kinect.
One interesting problem with dance games as a genre in the long term anyway, is I've seen my daughter and her friends dance while watching "lets play" youtube videos on the TV ... its a category that relies on grandma and auntie looking for christmas gifts because the kids think its just as much fun to watch the videos and the youtube UI is less of a hassle than the xbox UI. The testosterone fueled requirement of online competitive scoreboards to play gamer-style primate dominance games might be required for teen boys, but doesn't sell well to teen girls. So the problem is selling Grandma and Auntie on fifteen minutes of attaching the floozle to the encabulator to do it the "right" way none of which they can do by themselves vs "Oh forget it lets dance along to the lets play videos on youtube". The programmers think dance games fun comes from the feedback using expensive specialized now discontinued hardware that the girls are ironically uninterested in.
(Score: 2) by kazzie on Saturday October 28 2017, @01:49PM
Kinect released November 2010 [wikipedia.org]
PS Move on sale September 2010 [wikipedia.org]
Wii Balance Board on sale December 2007 [wikipedia.org]
The category was there before the Kinect.
(Score: 1) by MindEscapes on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:28PM
Nah, many spots games still are controller based. Does dent the dance games some though...I agree with that.
FPS has become bread and butter for consoles though...and there are still RPGs being made too.
Need a break? mindescapes.net may be for you!
(Score: 2) by chewbacon on Thursday October 26 2017, @02:12PM (1 child)
Too expensive for too narrow of a scope of use. Then there was the privacy issues when they tried to force it on XBO. The technology, however will still generate revenue. I read a study about using Kinect to call for help when an independently living elderly person falls (passive lifealert, without the “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!”).
(Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday October 27 2017, @12:03AM
"Too narrow a scope of use" from the perspective from somebody with no imagination and who has never actually played with one programmatically. Yeah, you might have to put some effort into paying the Microsoft tax to learn it and code for it, but the possibilities are endless.
Give me a kinect V2 and access to a code consultant and I will make fucking anything happen. Think Minority Report-style user interfaces and increase that by an order of magnitude.
Now everybody's ditching that style of research for AR and VR. Fuck them, they're fucking morons. There's a lot less profundity and user-control in AR/VR and I predict that gimmick will soon die a slow-death. With the Kinect V2 and some coding skill, you are in control. With AR/VR as it is headed, they control you.