Project Natal was unveiled as a revolutionary new gesture-based controller for the Xbox 360 during this year's E3 games expo, but while you may be looking forward to using it to control games in your living room it could also find its way into your office, according to Bill Gates.
In an interview with CNET News, the Microsoft chairman and former CEO Bill Gates revealed that the company is looking at ways of using the Project Natal hardware with Windows PCs through the same "software libraries and applications." The ideas started in Microsoft Research, which is the "crown jewel in terms of always feeding neat new things into Microsoft" in the eyes of Gates. "A cool example of that, that you'll see is kind of stunning, in a little over a year, is this (depth-sensing) camera thing... Not just for games, but for media consumption as a whole."
"It's just an example where Microsoft research did the original stuff to show, with the depth information, something great could be done. Then both the Xbox guys and the Windows guys latched onto that and now even since they latched onto it the idea of how it can be used in the office is getting much more concrete, and is pretty exciting," Gates explained, showing how concepts developed in the labs can make their way into commercial products and onto the shelves. "[C]onnect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication."
Gates indicated that the technology and its uses showed a lot of promise, for both home entertainment and the workplace. "I think the value is as great for if you're in the home, as you want to manage your movies, music, home system type stuff, it's very cool there. And I think there's incredible value as we use that in the office connected to a Windows PC. So Microsoft research and the product groups have a lot going on there, because you can use the cost reduction that will take place over the years to say, 'Why shouldn't that be in most office environments?'"