Smartphones, smartwatches, smart home appliances. Why not smart lifts? That’s the question Microsoft asked — and then answered, by putting a Kinect camera in a lift, training it to recognise when people want to get on, and teaching it to open the doors automatically when needed. Smart, indeed.
The project, installed at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington lab and spearheaded by research co-director Eric Horvitz, trained the Kinect’s eyes on a hallway, noting how people act when they want to board the lift compared to when they’re just walking by.
The second phase will give the lift a way to interact with passengers with gestures. As Horvitz told The Washington Post, “something as stodgy and old-fashioned as an elevator could have really cute gestures and curiosities and say ‘Are you coming?’ with a door motion”, perhaps jiggling the doors back and forth when it’s unsure if you want to get on. Ostensibly, you’d either nod “yes” or “no”, and the lift wouldn’t be confused anymore, although that capability hasn’t been tried yet.
You won’t be seeing this technology anywhere outside of Microsoft’s lab for the time being. But maybe, someday, when you’re impatiently waiting for the lift and muttering, “c’mon c’mon c’mon”, your words won’t be falling on deaf ears. [Washington Post]
Picture: Shutterstock / iurii