Making trouble in the Kinect Labs

Kinect Labs is just one of the many Kinect based announcements from Microsoft at its 2011 E3 press briefing. It sees a new portal launching on the Xbox 360 dashboard for people to enter into using Kinect and then download applications to play around in. Each of these applications is classed on your Gamercard as a separate entry offering 20 Gamerscore for completing certain tasks within the application.

These applications offer you the chance to share and upload both photos and videos to taken within each of these applications to the webpage where you can post them to the various social media sites or download to your computer.

So what comes with Kinect Labs? To start with there are four applications available now for you to play around with: Build a Buddy, Googly Eyes, Kinect Me, and Bobble Head each offering a unique way to use the Kinect to animate either yourself or an inanimate object.

Let’s take a look at the various applications available for download now:


Build a Buddy

This application offers you a chance to scan in some of your favourite objects that you can find around the house and bring them to life via the Kinect. After scanning both the front and back of the item you can then add in a personality for your new creation.

Once complete you can dance around and watch your creation come to life on-screen as you move around the sensor play area and see your item really come to life. This is a chance for small children (and some young minded adults) to bring to life their teddy bear and see it dance away on-screen as they move around.

I found this quite enjoyable, and it feels like it could keep someone (as simple as me) amused for about 30 minutes at a time as I try to bring different things to life and dance around with them on-screen while impersonating my model of Ezio.


Googly Eyes

In a similar vein to Build a Buddy, Googly Eyes takes your inanimate object and brings it to life on-screen. The difference is  this time is that your creation gets a pair of Googly Eyes (you know, the kind you find on birthday cards that rattle around).

This application feels a little flat after playing with the much superior Build a Buddy system, as the 3D effect of the item doesn’t quite come across as well here. As the item bends forwards it loses the illusion that the item is real with goofy eyes and bobbing around on-screen.

While I had some fun with this it didn’t quite feel right and I wanted to go back to Build a buddy to enjoy this feature in a much more well executed manner.


Kinect Me

Kinect Me was the one application that was shown off at the press conference and I was straight away thinking – I MUST TRY THIS WHEN I CAN! The initial promise of this looked to be to turn your Avatar into a more realistic version of you, and this is exactly what this delivers…. sort of.

The application takes a photo of your face and whole body, adding them to a skeletal model of your avatar. When it comes to life on-screen you get the chance to play model moving your limbs around while the Kinect films and takes photos for you to upload, if you so wish.


These photos were taken a few days and it appears I’ve gained a Beatles inspired look?


The downside of the application is that this doesn’t carry over to your actual avatar which is a bit of a letdown. The application doesn’t quite pick you up right if the lighting conditions are not perfect; and if you’re having a bad hair day, the likeness between Avatar and yourself begins to fall away.

All in all, this application offers you the chance to create some funny photos with a realistic version of yourself as an Xbox Avatar, just don’t go expecting the Mona Lisa is all.

Bobble head

Using the same scanning idea (a close up and a long body shot) as the Kinect Me, Bobble Head looks for more of a comedy angle. This time the application offers you a chance to turn yourself into a bobble head (or if you, like me when you played Goldeneye, DK mode).

Does this dashboard make my head look big?


The results offer a more comical outcome than Kinect Me, but the application still suffers from the same issues. However where this departs from Kinect Me is that it doesn’t quite spoil the fun, it adds to the overall comedy of the application as well as to the outcome that the application produces.



Overall, each of these applications have their own merits and flaws, yet they are not a bad first attempt at this sort of technology demonstration by developers. The portal (Kinect Labs) offers the community a chance to see and actually use some of the cool ideas that people come up with and not just see in a video on YouTube. As a bonus to this, people can then take these videos and photos and create even more content through the online portal (

As long as Microsoft continues to show support for this idea and keeps it at the forefront of the community’s mind, then I can see these being a great channel for people to see what developments are being made with Kinect and give direct feedback as they use the application

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About DrDogbert

My name is DrDogbert I'm a Movie geek, Gamer, reader, writer, down right plain normal guy who likes to talk to himself at times