It's clear that geeks do not intend to let the Kinect be solely for use with the Xbox 360. We have seen all sorts of hacks and mods that use the Kinect already and the thing hasn't been on the market for long. I can see hacks to let the Kinect work with a computer or control a toy robot. What surprises me is seeing some students at the University of Washington hack the Kinect for surgery.
Robotic surgery is common today for some procedures since it allows the patient to recover faster and results in fewer scars. The remote controlled tools that docs use will stop working when they hit a solid object inside the body preventing the doc from cutting something vital accidentally. The catch is that the controls for the robotic tools keep moving providing the doc with no tactile feedback.
Some engineering students and a teacher at UW took a Kinect and used it to throw up virtual force fields around vital areas of the body and give the doc some feedback. Using their system the doctors will be able to get tactile feedback that will have the controller stop when the surgical tools hit bone and the doctor can then use the tactile feel to run the tools along bone and other body structures.
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