The technical history of the Xbox Kinect and NUI

See also Microsoft's technical evolution of the Kinect


In the later 70s, Chris Schmandt developed at MIT's first project with language- and gesture recognition for operating graphical user interfaces called “Put-That-There”. The user had to create a magnetic dice on the wrist and a head-mounted microphone.

His scientific work on “Put-That-There” can here read.


Late 90s Mark Lucente developed a user interface for IBM, which did without reference objects such as pins or gloves and recognized the gestures of the user. The project was so visionary, that it was designed as an alternative for mouse and keyboard.

Minority Report

In the Hollywood movie with Tom Cruise 2002 is seen for the first time a Kinect-like controller, which could have been considered at the time as science fiction and for us not so difficult to imagine. As scientific advisers had Steven Spielberg John Under suitcase committed by MIT. Perhaps not so coincidentally Microsoft began a year later (2003) with the development of technology Kinect.

The Minority Report showed the possibilities of the New User Interface(NUI) one of the first productions from. This makes the film a similar pioneering as the Star Trek series, The e.g.. automatically opening doors or folding phones (Captain Kirk’s Communicator) “invented”.

Of particular interest to the following excerpt from Minority Report:

  • the Kalibrieung the user interface with a T-like movement (Video 1:26)
  • the pitfalls of this technique in the wrong movement (Video 1:46)
  • the hand gestures, reminiscent already at the Kinect control at a time, was not even on the work on the development of Kinect

Read more: Microsoft's technical evolution of the Kinect or Kinect SDK Tutorial Installation unter Windows 7

from the book: