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A Kinect 'smart home' might play your theme song when you enter the room

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Microsoft's director of developer relations for Xbox envisions a future where Kinect powers a "smart home" with functions that intuitively adjust a thermostat, set mood lighting, or even play a "theme song" for someone when he or she enters the room.

To get there, though, the sensor needs greater adoption on PC platforms, Michael Mott acknowledged to SlashGear. A Kinect 2.0 sensor bar will be coming for Windows PCs this summer, but Mott concedes that nowhere near as many people are aware of Kinect's PC presence as they are for Xbox One, where the sensor is sold with every console.

Long term, though, he thinks developers will push Kinect to a point where it is not waiting for a user to deliberately act with it — as nearly all of the interactions are today. "If there's two of you on the couch, what does it play? Does it bring up on screen something that's relevant to the both of you?" he said. "I have Sonos at home ... if I walk in the room, it would be cool to have my theme music come on, a little AC/DC to get going in the morning, perhaps!"

There remains a chicken-and-egg question of how to get to this point. More developers would build apps for a Kinect-driven "smart home," if more PC users were buying Kinect. And more PC users would buy Kinect if there were more applications and functions that made it useful to them.

Mott told SlashGear he is not sure that Microsoft bundling Kinect with a PC or a tablet really fosters its adoption — however developers might. For example, a health care company enrolling members in a physical therapy program would require them to have a tablet and a Kinect to participate. The tradeoff would be that participating from one's home is cheaper and more convenient than driving to sessions with a therapist in person.

For now, he doesn't foresee a single Killer App to generate a rush on development for Kinect. "But there will be three or four of those that we think are just going to delight people," he told SlashGear. "Communications is definitely one of them, enhanced communication and even entertainment communication. I think creativity is another one of them, and I definitely think fitness and wellness is yet another one. And then there's home automation."