Kinect built into Asus laptops, why you should care

Microsoft

Microsoft
(CBS) - Kinect for the Xbox 360 is making leap to desktop computers in February, but according to sources, it may be a built in to laptops soon.

The Daily reported seeing prototypes of Asus Windows 8 netbooks with built-in Kinect sensors. According to the site, "A source at Microsoft has confirmed that the devices are indeed official prototypes of laptops featuring a Kinect sensor."

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Why should you care? While it may seem awkward at first, think about being able to sit back and control your computer with the wave of a hand.

Porting the device to laptops will open an avenue for developers to create a wider variety of apps using the motion-sensing device. Forget about a touchscreen. How about no screen, mouse or remote control to deal with? We could change a song on a playlist with voice commands or gestures from across the room.

Naysayers think it will look a bit silly, but have you ever tried accepting a video chat while preparing dinner? It's a mess! I would love to be able to switch programs or open and close windows without touching my computer.

Aside from practical applications, the potential for Kinect is endless. Microsoft's use-cases include therapy for Autistic children or stroke rehabilitation. In a video produced by Microsoft called "Kinect Effect," some examples of how Kinect could be used include defusing bombs, controlling projectors and creating games for physical therapy patients. In South Korea, "Live Park" is an interactive theme-park, built using Kinect technology.

Kinect uses facial and voice recognition, as well as a sensor to track your body's motion. Developers can already take a crack at Kinect for desktop Windows 7 and 8 via a software development kit released by Microsoft. A Windows version of the sensor goes on sale Feb. 1.

The Daily speculates that Microsoft probably won't release its own portable computers; instead it would license Kinect technology to computer makers. If it catches on - and Microsoft gives the right support to developers - the potential for Kinect to modify our behavior could be on par with Apple's touchscreen.

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