Microsoft's Kinect Is Being Used To Help Guard The Korean DMZ

Designed as a hands-free video game controller, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor has been used in many unintended ways ranging fromteaching autistic children to designs for the future of military training. Now it is even being used to help guard the most watched border in the world.

That’s right, South Korea has been using the Kinect in select areas along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating it from North Korea to help spot oncoming threats since August.

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku reports (via news site Hankooki):

Self-taught South Korean programmer Jae Kwan Ko developed a Kinect-based software system to monitor the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which separates the two countries. It was deployed at the border last August, but its existence wasn’t made public until recently …

The Kinect-based system identifies objects crossing the DMZ. It can discern the difference between animals and humans.

After identifying a possible threat, the Kinect sends a warning to the closest manned outpost. No data on the number of sensors deployed has been released to the public, but Ko has been positively praised by the South Korean government for his contributions.

Currently, the system uses outdated Kinect sensors from the Xbox 360. Ko has told Hankooki that, when available, these sensors will be replaced with the latest sensors from the Xbox One. This change will reportedly enable the tracking of heat signatures and even heart beats in even greater accuracy.

Originally against third-party use of its Kinect sensor, Microsoft did an about-face in the face of many impressive Kinect projects and now approves of users hacking the hardware for their own designs.

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