The Kinect may have been a nonstarter on the Xbox, but it may have something to offer the world outside of games.
Two Kinects (alone in this harsh world, the Seita and Setsuko of ambitious cruft) were placed to record two participants in a sort of multicam setup, capturing their body movements. The participants were then put through a few experiments; one found a participant receiving a lecture about water efficiency and then being asked to recall it. Another had both participants brainstorming solutions for water conservation.
The results are interesting. During the brief lecture, students who fidgeted did worse on the recall. Strangely, they also got distracted by the other participant’s movements, retaining less information when their “teachers” moved. As for the brainstorm, there was a correlation between synchronous movements and the number of ideas the pair produced.
What does all this boil down to (aside from giving a few Kinects their forever homes)? VIHL founder Jeremy Bailenson says that your “digital footprint,” the portrait a motion-control device captures of you via movement, can be a lot more telling than you might think. “When people are online they have an illusion of being anonymous, but combining tracking data with machine learning provides many clues about who you are and what you are doing.”