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University of Dundee finds practical use for Kinect

The university of Dundee in Scotland has found a practical use for Microsoft Kinect's technology in the form of optical tweezers, which physicists will find useful.

Up until now, the Microsoft Kinect has had it's primary use as an input device for dance games on the Xbox 360, but the University of Dundee has found another use: Optical tweezers. Optical tweezers are lasers, which can be used to manipulate microscopic particles. The system that has been developed by the university is known as HoloHands and allows physicists to use gestural commands to operate the lasers.

Optical tweezers holding up a DNA molecule


Optical tweezers have been in development since the 1970's, but have always been difficult to control. The researchers are hoping that the Kinect will be able to help them solve these issues, though more development is still required. HoloHands has undergone basic testing, but latency issues and misinterpretations of the bodies it manipulates are still causing problems.

Doctor David McGloin, who is the project leader at the University of Dundee has stated that  a lot of the researchers working on HoloHands are gamers. He believes that using the Kinect is a useful and intuitive way to control the tweezers and could fit a wide range of users.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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