Xbox Kinect hack helps blind people navigate

Sensor tech put to potentially valuable use...

Laptop, Kinect and headset unit gives directions

We’ve seen all manner of ingenious Kinect hacks. The hardware lends itself to some amazing, useful and often hilarious purposes, the potential for which has brought out the best in developers. Case in point is this latest one from the University of Konstanz in Germany, who’ve turned the gaming add-on into an aide for the blind.

The device, named NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired), uses a complex system of sensors – with the Kinect at its core – that sends an augmented reality version of the users’ surroundings to a laptop, which processes the image into simple audio commands. These commands, such as ‘turn left’ etc, are sent to a Bluetooth headset.

The whole rig is pretty cumbersome, but it’s very early days. That said, it’s easy to see future applications for the tech from the video below, assuming they can get the bulk down:

How Kinect works
- See our exclusive report from Microsoft HQ

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