Microsoft's Kinect now guards DMZ
MICROSOFT'S movement-recognition Kinect device has graduated from virtual shooter gaming to facing the real-life challenge of guarding the world's last Cold War border.
The sensor allowing hands-free play on the Xbox is the basis for a security device now deployed along the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, after being adapted by a South Korean programmer.
About 4km wide and 248km long, the DMZ is a depopulated no-man's land of heavily fortified fences that bristles with the landmines and listening posts of two nations that remain technically at war.
As a military buffer zone, it remains an area of profound Cold War hostility, but its man-made isolation has also created an accidental wildlife park recognised as one of the best-preserved habitats on earth.
The Kinect-based device developed by Mr Ko Jae Kwan, founder-president of Saewan Company, has been taken up by the military because of its ability to differentiate between human and animal movements.
Mr Ko, 39, said yesterday that his device could detect the sound, movement and direction of anybody attempting to cross the DMZ and alert South Korean border guards immediately.
"Existing sensors, which had been in place along the border, were highly efficient but could not tell the difference between humans and animals, sending wrong signals frequently," he said.