Kinect was always touted by Microsoft to have many different uses ever since it was unveiling at E3 five years ago. While most of those haven’t materialised and it is primarily using it as an extension of the gaming experience, Microsoft is not giving up on its technology. They actually have many patents linked to the Kinect just laying around the office, but not this one.
Microsoft Research Asia recently showed off software that allows the Kinect to read almost every American Sign Language gesture via hand tracking, even at conversational speeds. In addition to converting signs to text or speech, the software can also let a hearing person input text and “sign” it using an on-screen avatar. All of this is still confined to a lab so far, but the researchers hope that one day it’ll open up new lines of communication between the hearing and deaf. We can really get behind this innovative idea, as it can make a big difference to many people’s lives. Check out the demo after the break.