The US Patent & Trademark Office has recently published a patent application from Microsoft that reveals a new twist that could be coming to the Xbox. Microsoft describes being able to pair Kinect with a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet for gaming and beyond. Whether Microsoft will be announcing this feature in the coming days or reserve it as an update feature to the next generation Xbox down the road is unknown at this time.
Kinect to Work with Smartphones to Enhance Games
According to one of Microsoft's latest Xbox related patent applications, a user carrying a portable device such as a smartphone, tablet PC, or other similar device, will be able to one day pair it with a tracking system (Kinect) with a simple series of motion gestures in a random pattern.
In implementations, the motion sequences or gestures from multiple devices can be recognized by a tracking system like Kinect. When each user's smartphone is identified, the user experience can be extended to each user's respective device to display player confidential information, gaming configuration features, or other information and features not well suited for display to everyone, such as on a primary gaming display (your HDTV) that all participants in a gaming scenario can view.
For example, an auto racing game may allow the players the ability to tune each of their race cars just prior to starting a race. With a racing game companion application on a mobile phone, each player can pair his or her device with the gaming system, and then set the tuning parameters and auto racing configurations known only to the player who is setting the parameters and configurations.
In another gaming example, two players with a football game companion application on each mobile device can select plays without the other player being able to see the play selection before a play is executed. For example, the player currently on offense can select an offensive play that the player currently on defense will not see on the primary gaming display, and similarly, the player currently on defense can select a defensive play that the offensive player will not be able to see.
Applications beyond Gaming
Beyond gaming applications, Microsoft provides us with a few example scenarios of how Kinect paired to a portable device can work.
A Kiosk Scenario: In other implementations, a tracking system can be implemented as a kiosk device, such as in a store front, and a user with a portable device can walk-up and initiate pairing the device with the tracking system. Once paired, the user may receive an instant coupon for the store on the portable device, such as in the form of a text, email, or via a coupon application on the device. The user may also receive information about products in the particular store and/or products targeted to a particular user based on user data that may be associated with the portable device.
Corporate Security Systems: In another example, a security guard may be easily authenticated at various kiosk checkpoints throughout a property, such as a shopping mall or auto dealer, as the security guard makes a security check around the property. The security guard can briefly stop at each checkpoint and initiate pairing a portable device with the tracking system at each kiosk checkpoint. In this scenario, the purpose of the gesture matching at a checkpoint may be considered more of an acknowledgement or signature, rather than a one-time pairing of the devices.
Microsoft originally filed their patent application under serial number 311408 back in Q4 2011. The application was made public in Q2 2013 by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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