back to article RIP mice and keyboards: Kinect for PCs incoming

Microsoft’s XBox Kinect is getting in your face in 2012 with a "near mode" for close-up interaction – and is getting hardware-ready for Windows PCs. The Kinect's near mode will come into play following a firmware update next year that will allow the depth camera to see objects at a distance of 50cm accurately and with what …


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  1. b166er

    I'm thinking this should signal the end of TV zappers!

  2. JimmyPage
    Thumb Up

    Hope for the disabled ?

    Mrs JP has MS, and poor eyesight, which makes using a PC keyboard clunky ... hit key, squint at screen, hit key go back ...

    Something like this, which could make a virtual keyboard overlay in 3D could be very useful ... how about a cardboard "keyboard" you hold near the Kinect, and simply point at the letter to type it ?

    If any Microsoft developers want to speak to me about it, I am sure El Reg can pass on details.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is nice and all, but tactile feedback is nicer.

  4. Antony Riley

    Funny how we keep replacing accurate fast input devices with slower "more intuitive" devices.

    1. John Macintyre


      apart from the typical sensationalist arcticle heading, do you honestly believe something like the kinect, which requires you to keep your arms in the air and moving constantly, would replace the basics of a keyboard and mouse? try typing a final year dissertation on a kinect, then watch people crawl back to their keyboards and mice....

      Voice and mind control would be the ways forward (siri seems pretty impressive as a step towards the former), but anything requiring excess energy (arms floating in air, lack of tactile response) would not immediately remove the need for things like physical keyboards and mice.

      that said, I'm getting old in tech years, so tomorrow's yoof will probably never know what a keyboard and mouse are at this rate... now there's a strange thought

      1. Morg

        Boom headshot

        Don't forget : Boom Headshot.

        They never could quite do it with a gamepad . They'll never be able to do it with kinect.

        Voice control is retarded, I don't know anyone who can speak as fast as they think, and it's impossible to speak as fast as you type (if you type real fast ;) ).

        Mind control ... I'd love to see how that goes tits up when you're actually thinking real fast about solutions to a problem ... Booom blue screen ;)

  5. Tchou
    Thumb Down

    What if it's part of Microsoft efforts on behavior monitoring? The same system is currently tested for monitoring (spying !) employees !

    Makes me shiver...

  6. HP Cynic
    Thumb Down

    The Kinect is atrocious on the Xbox so no thanks.

    Sure they can make it work up close but it will need to be a lot more accurate than the current mess.

    Remember the Kinect was designed for gigantic American "Dens" compared to Lounges around the world which are far smaller. I know a few Brits who bought them and found they literally could not get far enough away from the device to get picked up properly, one guy could if he stood crammed in a corner but his wife was totally invisible to it everywhere.

    One day yes, but I am incredibly skeptical about whatever they do next. A few more gens are needed to please this cynic :)

  7. You Are Not Free

    Here we go again

    Or not actually.

    Kinect to replace keyboards and mice huh?

    I'll get ready to be massively underwhelmed then. again..

    Can I do that? Can I get ready to be underwhelmed? Would that work?

    Oh yes, I can. I remember now, I dumbed down my expectations for the original Kinect and was still massively underwhelmed.

    So... god knows how bad this is going to be.

  8. Mr Young

    I somehow suspect?

    The keyboard and mouse is in the same category as the wheel - sort of ultimately usable and maybe even indispensable!

    1. tfewster

      Never say never

      Speech recognition & eyeball tracking? Maybe with a "gesture" such as tapping the desk to "click". And when we get to thought recognition you'll wonder how you ever survived a deathmatch with just a mouse.

      Think big, Young man!

      P.S. I agree that the keyboard/mouse combo is still my favourite, even on e.g. Halo for PC with an Xbox controller

      1. Morg

        Yes .. if you're handicapped with a mouse and keyboard ... speech recognition and eyeball tracking looks great ... and tapping your desk instead of your mouse looks smart too.

        Thought recognition for headshots ? like just think "headshot" first and the guy dies ? lol what would even be the point - it's not like the time it takes a pro to align-shoot is more relevant than the reaction time --

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Actually this fits perfectly with current trends in education. What is the need for a keyboard when the up and coming generation can't read or write.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This'll make server administration fun :-)

    I can see the wailing user base now !

    1. HipposRule

      Especially (in a Windows environment) in core mode

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Solving "problems" again eh?

    They saw the start menu piling up on many home computers and thus found the ultimate solution: getting rid of the start menu entirely. Problem solved!

    But now they saw several people complaining about having to drag the new menu screen back and forth. Thus came the next ultimate solution: get rid of all the input devices, no more need for scrolling with the mouse anymore. Problem solved!

    Could be good news; when the Windows 8 sales become disappointing maybe they'll find a new ultimate solution: getting rid of Windows 8 :-) Problem solved!

  12. Miek

    Will it work with a Linux PC ?

  13. b166er

    And which generation are you from Will? (the haughty one) Do you presume to suggest that your generation have solved all the worlds problems through literacy and that this next one, through its lack will undo all that good work?

    There are a surprising number of illiterate people in every generation and from all walks of life if some of what's typed into our ticket system is indicative. That's before we even get to 'tradesmen'. (there, I can be supercilious too)

    My father likes to moan about literacy and grammar, while simultaneously missing the conversation entirely owing to his obsession. There's somewhat of a delicious irony to that, don't you think?

    As long as you get your point across, what matters it? I agree one should have the skill of language as an available tool, as I would likewise agree that table manners can be important. Because we sometimes like to grab a quick sandwich, doesn't make us numbskulls.

    Anyway, I digress.

    Miek: Only if it's got a UEFI BIOS!

  14. dssf

    Skinect...? Skintillating?

    It would be very funny, maybe apt, if once again the porn/adult en(d)tertainment industry comes up with devices that propel or thrust the live-gaming industry to new applications. People would DITCH the Snuggies and Huggies. This could probably start off as a combination of Twister-in-the-Nude, Toss Across, Human Connect Four, and more. Some new games names might be "CheckHers", "ChessT", "Spy-roll-Graft"... "Sub-ject of Endvestigation" (or, to be equally fair/opportunistic, (Sub-inject of endvestigaytion) this (w)hole list could be endless, and offer loads of fun for adult and humans of all purr-sway-shuns.

    But, the tact-aisle-feed-back devices would need reskinning and such and would definitely need pair-rental controls...

    I can HARDly seem microsoft pulling an apple and banning the types of games loaded onto their platform.

  15. ph0b0s

    I do hope that headline was tounge in cheek...

    ..otherwise the journalism on this site has gone to the dogs.

    RIP mouse and keyboard becuase Kinect is coming? The same Kinect that has done such a great job of RIP 'ing the joypad on the 360? Kinect who's super feature for next years triple AAA titles like Mass Effect 3 will be 'voice commands'. That's right for the 360 it's a hundred pound microphone allowing you to shout commands at your Xbox games.

    Wow, the innovation of allowing you do something my PC could do when I brought the first Soundblaster card in 1989. This is the device that is going to have us chucking our mice and keyboards in the bin?

    So sure Kinect is coming and my find some niche of usefulness in the PC market, especially with how much PC modders have already been able to do with hacked drivers for the 360 version, but as a mouse and keyboard replacement? Only an idiot would make that kind of a prediction without their tongue firmly planted in their cheek.

  16. Lamont Cranston

    So, is

    "we have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios" a rather long winded way of saying "we've written a driver for it"?

  17. BoxedSet

    I think the author of the article has recently been watching "Minority Report" and made a gigantic leap between hollywood license and the reality of this device...

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