Thanks to researchers at Microsoft Research Cambridge, it may soon be possible to digitally animate everyday objects with a little camcorder-like gadget.
KinEtre, pronounced “kin-ette-chra,” is based upon the technological advances of the prior Microsoft product Kinect. This original system enabled users to digitally “channel” an inanimate object. Picture virtual dancing tables and chairs, made by a human dancing in front of a video camera. KinEtre differs from Kinect in that KinEtre allows the user to attach limbs to those dancing chairs by verbal commands. For example, yell “Possess!” and one will assume a bookcase. The object will also in real-time video.
The name “KinEtre” is meant to be a merging of “KinectFusion,” the software that makes the 3D scanning and filming possible, and the French word “Etre” meaning “to be.”
“The idea is that we want to let you bring the world around you to life,” said Jiawen Chen during an interview session on the Inside Microsoft site. “We want to let you use Kinect for Windows and a PC and take arbitrary household objects and make them move like a cartoon character.”
Chen, Shahram Izadi, and Andrew Fitzgibbon are credited as the primary developers. They unveiled the KinEtre for the first time at the Siggraph Conference in Los Angeles in early August.
Presently, there are not any press releases or statements indicating that the system will go commercial any time soon. However, as far as marketing goes, the system is designed for casual home use rather than professional use. The entire system suggests an instance in which Beauty and the Beast has some sort of validity when household objects come to life. The Kinect system is already in most tech stores, selling for a little over $100.