What do you get when you combine multiple PCs, projectors, and Kinect sensors? A four-foot Microsoft Cube. It’s the latest interactive art installation out of Redmond, with pulsating music and Kinect sensors that let you dance through a zany virtual portal. Microsoft’s Cube is essentially a projection system that uses 5 PCs, 5 projectors, and 4 Kinect sensors to create an interactive dance party. Unlike Microsoft’s giant touchscreens, this isn’t a product the company will be selling, it’s simply an experiment for Seattle’s Decibel music and arts festival.
Microsoft is showing off an emerging culture at the company
If anything, it’s Microsoft showing off an emerging culture of hacking at the company, where employees are encouraged to experiment with projects outside their usual remit. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently held a "hackfest" at the company’s headquarters to encourage projects like the Cube, but the Cube itself took "many months" to create according to the company. Right now Microsoft’s Cube is being used as a virtual dance party with Kinect, producing visualizations that look like they’re straight out of something from Winamp rather than an impressive spherically shaped digital globe.
Microsoft isn’t sure exactly what the Cube could be used for in future. "It could be a stage for performance, a blackboard for education, a display case for museum artifacts," explains Michael Megalli, senior director of brand strategy at Microsoft. "It could be a communications device to bring people together in unexpected ways."