Microsoft’s Kinect Guru Alex Kipman Working on Wearable Windows
A post on the Verge today reports that Alex Kipman—who’s known as one of Microsoft’s “fathers of Kinect”—is working on the company’s wearable computing efforts. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors about Microsoft looking to get into the wearable computers game, as a Surface Smartwatch was being discussed as a possibility earlier this summer, while October brought rumors of Microsoft working on “eyewear prototypes” and “devices worn on the face,” the latter of which is probably going to be the name of the next band I’m in. But I digress.
The Verge post cites “sources familiar with Microsoft’s device plans,” who say that Kipman’s team is working on shrinking the Windows interface down for device prototypes of “wearable computers like glasses and smartwatches.” It’s interesting that Kipman, who was formerly one of the people to bring the Kinect to the Xbox 360, would make the transition to wearable computing. If nothing else, that signals some of the important aspects of what Microsoft is looking to do with those devices.
The smartwatch is easy in terms of how Kipman can bring his experience to bear—throw some sensors up in there, some accelerometers, and you’ve got a device that can connect with your smartphone while also monitoring your health and vital statistics. The “glasses” might be a bit more tricky, though I bet there’s motion-sensing involved as well.
But what about Kipman’s track record? I’m not going to pretend to know much more about him other than his involvement with the Kinect. As recent news stories have reminded us, the Kinect’s hardware was developed, at least in part, by PrimeSense, while the revised Kinect for the Xbox One was done all in-house at Microsoft. And the original Kinect, for all its lofty ambitions, was more or less a failure in terms of delivering on its promises. The fact that the new Kinect has been brought to life would seem to reveal that the main culprit was lackluster technology from PrimeSense, rather than the software and interface work of Kipman—especially since Kipman still works at Microsoft and, presumably, had a pretty direct hand in the new iteration of the technology.
If nothing else, Microsoft must feel confident in Kipman’s abilities and what he’s done for the company so far. I’m eager to see what fruits his labors produce—hopefully we’ll learn more about these rumored wearable devices sooner rather than later.
[Image via Techli]
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