Avatar Kinect may not be the Star Trek Holodeck but it could be just as good because of the a psychological trick that transports you to avatar space. Coming to you soon for free (sort of) courtesy of Microsoft.
It is nice to see Microsoft getting in on all the amazing things that people have been doing with the Kinect - it's not as if they had to work out how to hack the drivers after all.
The Xbox team has produced the Avatar Kinect which allows users to have full body control over their avatars. The idea is that people can meet online and take part in group activities in the avatar world. It's a fairly obvious applciation of the technology but its very well done and very impressive.
The reason it seems to work so well is that the Kinect tracks facial expressions as well as limb positions and by watching the screen you really do feel as if you are part of the action in the avatar space. This is the reason that some commenators have called it, as Microsoft is keen to repeat, the Star Trek Holodeck in beta.
It may not be possible in the near future to create solid holograms but by creating an "out of body" illusion that places the viewer into the avatar space you may not need to.
Is this the start of something really big?
It certainly feels that way.
Micrsoft says that the Avatar Kinect application is coming soon for free to all Xbox Live Gold subscribers.