Using the Microsoft Kinect with Cloud-hosted Games

TSSG researcher Dr Brendan Jennings recently attended the 23rd ACM Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV 2013) workshop in Oslo, Norway, where he presented work developed with Cathal O’Connor and Dr Alan Davy on the controlling the transfer of data from the Microsoft Kinect to a cloud-hosted games platform. A video of Dr Jennings presenting the work is available here.

The researchers’ work was motivated by the observation that increases in broadband access bandwidth in recent years have meant that it has become viable to offer games as cloud-hosted applications. This is attractive for many gamers as they are not required to own relatively expensive games consoles. Whilst most cloud hosted games rely on traditional game controller inputs, it is likely that in the near future that: 1) they will seek to support controller-free sensed inputs such as those gathered by Microsoft’s Kinect; and 2) games will require continuously updated images of the gamer(s) for inclusion in the game itself. The presented paper investigates the use of the Kinect as an input device for cloud-hosted games. It outlines a protocol that allows a game server request specific information from the game and specify a simple
image segmentation algorithm that can be applied at the client to decrease the volume of data that needs to be transferred to the server. The implementation shows that the use of this protocol should make it feasible to support the use of Kinect for this purpose on typical consumer broadband access bandwidths.

Dr Brendan Jennings is the TSSG Lead Researcher and leads the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.

Dr Alan Davy is a Research Fellow in the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.

Cathal O’Connor is an MSc by Research student in the TSSG Emerging Networks Laboratory.