Kinect for Windows launched just over a month ago and so far the spin-off of the Xbox 360 gaming device seems to have caught on with a number of commercial businesses; that includes a project to make robotic shopping carts a reality. In a new entry on the Microsoft Power and Utilities blog, the company points out a couple of other ways Kinect is being used by businesses and organizations.
One such effort is being developed by Ferranti, which created a proof-of-concept project that uses the motion gesture tech of Kinect to help a user monitor energy rates in the home. The MECOMS Smart Home system links a TV with the Kinect device with a user's local utility company. Combined with smart meters set up inside the home, the Kinect app can be used to see if, for example, an electrical appliance is using too much energy and needs to be fixed or replaced.
Microsoft also gives some attention to another Kinect-based project from Bentley Applied Research. It is using its own software program called MicroStation that, combined with the Kinect device and software, will allow the user to navigate though 3D models of structures with just hand gestures. You can see a video showing off the software prototype above. It's likely that we will see more and more of these kinds of non-gaming Kinect applications and products in the months ahead.