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Microsoft and John Lewis bring Christmas toys to life using the power of Kinect

Microsoft and John Lewis bring Christmas toys to life using the power of Kinect

The holiday season is upon us, and Microsoft is pairing up with the UK’s retail giant, John Lewis to create some Christmas magic for the little ones that visit their flagship store on Oxford Street in London. Their goal; to bring toys to life a la Toy Story and The Nutcracker.

The two companies will achieve this using the power of Kinect for Windows, expanding on the motion sensor’s ever-growing list of possibilities. The 25-person team worked on the project for two months, and in that time, they experimented on scanning different toys using the Kinect sensor, mapping the scan to create a mesh, then adding texture and color to it. A behind-the-scenes team then proceeded to animate the toy on-screen, bringing it to life and making it dance, all in 130 seconds.

“We knew what our goal was from the start: we wanted to give people goose bumps.  We wanted to take the fantasy and make it real, so we needed to be pioneering” said Arthur Tindsley, Microsoft’s Creative Technologist.

Microsoft and John Lewis bring Christmas toys to life using the power of Kinect

The end result is a system that children can use to scan their own Christmas toys, which would then be displayed on a giant screen, fast asleep and motionless. Upon pointing or waving at their toy that has magically been digitized, Kinect kicks in, the toy awakens, and starts dancing away. After the children have danced their feet off, they get to take a selfie with their animated toy to capture the moment.

“We hope this live interaction will bring a bit of Christmas magic to children – and bring out the inner child in adults, too” said Tindsley

Just imagine how a system like this can ignite a child’s imagination; every time they pick up that toy of theirs again, they’ll remember it in full motion, a memory to last a long time if Toy Story has taught us anything.

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