Kinect For Media Center

The vision of The Media Center Project is to transform the way that we interact with the technology in our homes and offices.  Using Windows Media Center (7 & 8), this endeavor will change the way we connect with the information, data, and media that power our lives.  This evolution will come from increasingly mobile computing and most innovatively through natural user interaction (Nui), powered by Microsoft Kinect.  The intention is to bring immersive user experience to collaboration, interaction, and consumption of information and media.

Projects

Kinect for Media Center is an application that interacts with my Media Center Remote Command Listener to control a Media Center computer using Hand Gestures and Voice Commands, utilizing the Kinect for Windows hardware.  The Hand Gestures and Voice Commands control the Media Center interface, as well as any add-ins running inside Media Center.  This includes popular add-ins such as Netflix, My full HD Movies, Media Browser, and Heatwave.

Also implemented are advanced Voice features such that audio coming from Media Center will not interfere with your Voice Commands, nor will the playing audio accidentally trigger any commands, within a reasonable volume level.  Also, there are commands that can temporarily turn off the gesture and voice recognition until you turn them back on.

There are also configuration tools to tweak the settings.  One such setting is the ‘Dominant Hand’ (left or right), as certain commands rely on this.  Other settings allow you to invert the horizontal, vertical, and pinch/zoom actions, as well as their sensitivity. The ‘Kinect for 360’ sensor is not supported.  Also, extenders such as the Xbox 360 are not supported.  Please see the FAQ for more information.

Functionality

Gestures

  • Hand Swipe Left, Right, Up, Down
    • Moves the selection in Media Center based on the velocity of gesture.
  • Hand Swipe then Hold
    • Moves the selection in Media Center and repeats the swipe continuously until you release the Hold.
  • Hand Tap
    • ‘Ok’ in Media Center.
  • Hand Zoom (Hands moving away from each other)
    • ‘Ok’ in Media Center.
  • Hand Pinch (Hands moving closer to each other)
    • ‘Back’ in Media Center.
  • Dominant Hand Hold
    • ‘Play’.
  • Secondary Hand Hold
    • ‘Stop’.
  • Wave
    • Signals that you are in control of the gestures if multiple people are in view.
Voice Commands

General

  • ‘Stop gestures’
    • Temporarily stops watching for Gesture Commands.
  • ‘Start gestures’
    • Starts watching for Gesture Commands again.
  • ‘Stop voice’
    • Temporarily stops listening for Voice Commands.
  • ‘Start voice’
    • Starts listening for Voice Commands again.
Basic Media Center
  • Ok, Enter, Select
  • ‘enter’ key
  • Up, Down, Left, Right, Back
  • Home, Start
  • Media Center home page
  • Play, Stop, Next, Previous, Pause
  • Info, Record
Navigation
  • ‘Go to music,’ ‘Go to my music’
  • ‘Go to movies’, ‘Go to my movies’, ‘Go to movie library’
    • Launches ‘MyMovies 4’, ‘MyMovies 3’, the built-in free Movie Library, or ‘Media Browser’, depending on your configuration.
  • ‘Go to pictures’, ‘Go to my pictures’
  • ‘Go to videos’, ‘Go to my videos’
  • ‘Go to Netflix’
    • Launches Netflix add-in if installed.
  • ‘Go to Media Browser’
    • Launches Media Browser add-in if installed.
  • ‘Go to Now Playing’
  • ‘Go to weather’, ‘Go to HeatWave’
    • Launches HeatWave add-in if installed.
Media
  • ‘Play Artist …’
  • ‘Queue Artist…’
  • ‘Play Album…’
  • ‘Queue Album …’
  • ‘Play Playlist …’
Requirements

Kinect for Media Center has the following requirements:

Hardware

  • Microsoft ‘Kinect for Windows’ Sensor
  • the ‘Kinect for 360’ sensor is not supported
  • Computer with a dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
  • 2-GB RAM (4-GB RAM recommended)

Media Center Remote for Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 UI

The Media Center Remote apps along with the corresponding Media Center Remote Command Listener can control your Windows Media Center (7 & 8) computer and Extenders over the WiFi card in your house.  You can download free HD movies, browse movies, pictures, and video libraries on your device.  Search for songs, artists, and albums to play or queue, or browse your collections as well as playlists to play on your Media Center.  You can also use your phone to watch movies, videos, and pictures.

The apps also provide the ability to control basic functions like free streaming of TV, play, stop, previous, and next, along with volume and channel control.  You can control the interface from your phone using directional buttons or a gesture pad to ‘swipe’ through the menus.  There is also remote keyboard functionality.

Natural User Interaction Service

The Natural User Interaction Service software enables developers to write add-ins for programs to enable gesture and voice control.  Add-ins subscribe to events from the Nui Service, and can act on those events as they see fit when raised.  Examples of gestures that this software can detect are ‘Pinch’, ‘Zoom’, Swipe’, ‘Tap’, etc.  Kinect for Media Center and Kinect for PowerPoint both contain add-ins that subscribe to Nui Service events.

The Nui Service runs as a tray application, but when opened, the user can configure the software to their preferences.  There is functionality to control the gesture and voice sensitivity, left or right-handedness, as well as the Kinect device camera angle.  The user can view how these changes affect recognition by viewing the live video feed from the Kinect as well as view how the Kinect is tracking them. As gestures and voice commands are recognized, they will flash across the screen, enabling users to see the impact of their configuration changes.

Media Center Remote Command Listener

The interaction with Windows Media Center is done through the Remote Command Listener software.  This software allows client devices to connect to a Media Center computer to retrieve information and provides the ability to receive commands from those devices to control Media Center functionality.

This, along with the ‘Nui Service’, are what power the ‘Kinect for Media Center’ software.  The WP7 ‘Media Center Remote’ is an example of a client device.

Requirements

The Media Center Remote for Windows 8 UI has the following requirements:

Hardware

  • Windows 8 Device

Software

  • My Media Center Remote Command Listener