Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kinect's positive externalities

Who says video games don't make the world a better place?

Microsoft released the Kinect late last year - a motion sensor that allows Xbox players to control specially-designed games with gestures instead of buttons.

While the developers may only have had entertainment in mind, the technology they created is finding a host of other applications. The most striking example is Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital is using the Kinect to bring up medical images during surgery without having to re-sterilize or leave the operating table. Other uses include classroom interactions, a virtual reality interface, an interactive movie ad and a way to manipulate music.

In essence, Microsoft's work in developing the Kinect motion controller created a positive externality by giving the world an effective way to interact with computers with gestures instead of physical contact. There's no telling what other uses we will dream up for this technology, and most of the grunt work was done by a for-profit company that probably will not be paid for most of the advances.

Another positive application of video game technology has been the increased detail in medical imaging technology thanks to all the hard work game companies put into developing top-notch graphics to make games more enjoyable. All medical companies had to do was re-purpose this technology to show the internal organs of living people, instead of the internal organs of dead enemies.

With all the baseless accusations video games get for harming the world, shouldn't we take time to appreciate them for making the world better place sometimes?


  1. I think you skipped over the most groundbreaking and world-changing application of the Kinect...

  2. What about the future of porn? There's a decent breakthrough!

  3. It's stuff like this that makes me VERY glad to be a member of the 21st century! I think there are some very exciting things around the corner that only 10 years ago could be dreamed up in science fiction.

  4. I'm sure that given the cutting edge political fad of the day (using some grant money and a newfangled measurement tool to hunt down any possible correlation between technology and death), the Kinect will soon be banned because of the negligible amount of radioactive particles it emits. RADIOACTIVITY!