Are We Safe from Prying Eyes with Kinect in our Living Room?
Despite what some may say, Kinect for Xbox 360 is a step ahead in motion-based gaming. Sure, it has a long way to go, but the potential is there, right in front of our eyes. The Nintendo Wii was a revolution, and with it, motion controls became not just a thing of the future, but of the present. Using your very hands to swing your character's sword is more than intuitive, but using your entire body to control the characters on the screen simply takes us closer to reality, which is, after all, the main goal in most video games created in the current generation. We want to see and feel what reality would be like if we stepped into someone else's shoes. With Kinect, we get to be our favorite pop star, a brave adventurer, or a Jedi, all from the comfort of our living room. But, how much reality is too much reality? Could things turn around for us in our search for this step away from our reality and into a virtual reality?
I'm saying that because Kinect not only senses movement. It has a built-in camera and a microphone that are used to control games, video playback, and the Xbox 360's menu interface. You can even buy a new version now that connects to your PC and recognizes nearby gestures, replacing your webcam to round out your interactive experience. All the benefits Kinect has to offer are nothing short of amazing, but you may always have that doubt in the back of your mind: What if... someone, somewhere, can see our every move? What if the reality of our daily lives is secretly being observed, or even recorded? Granted, a company like Microsoft couldn't afford doing such a thing, as the possibility of being found out would destroy them forever. Plus, would Microsoft really care that much about us? We're not that important!
But then you start thinking... The Xbox 360 can be online 24/7, Kinect is connected to the Xbox 360 24/7, and Kinect has a built-in camera that can see what we do. Same thing could happen with Kinect for PC. It's like a potential window that looks into our lives. And then there are hackers in this world that know their way around things. There are government conspiracy theories. Heck, there are even crazy people who aren't very tech-savvy but have been able to figure certain things out because they really want them. So do we really want to take a chance? Chances are no one is spying on us, but at the same time, stranger things have happened in this world, and the paranoid in me worries sometimes. Have you ever worried too? If you have Kinect, you've probably thought about it before, especially if you have children.
The good news is, not long ago, I found out about this new invention - simple as can be, but very slick and convenient. It's what they call a security and privacy product that has been designed specifically for Kinect. No, we're not talking about a high-tech device that plugs into Kinect and garbles the signal! The Pritect Sensor Cover is just a properly manufactured cover for your Kinect device, which fits snuggly over it and has soft pads to protect it, so your beautiful, shiny camera / motion-sensor never gets scratched.
I have the Pritect Sensor Cover installed on my Kinect for Xbox 360, and the truth is, I haven't taken it off in a long time. I use Kinect a lot for voice commands, and there's no problem with that whatsoever; it still works like a charm. And since I haven't been playing Kinect games as of late, I rather just keep the cover on. Again, why take the chance? Plus it looks like it belongs; it matches the black, high-gloss finish, and it even has a little cutout to display the Xbox 360 logo that's on the Kinect sensor, so it looks spiffy all around. It really is a high-quality piece of equipment, unlike all that shoddy, plasticky stuff they sell nowadays.
As an added benefit, the Pritect Sensor Cover also protects the lenses from dust particles that may collect there over time (especially if you have pets around!), so it helps to keep Kinect in mint condition, which is how I like to keep my gadgets. Oh, and I don't know if you ever noticed those distracting infrared lights that beam off of Kinect's lenses. Between that and the green light, sometimes it can ruin a movie experience if you like to watch shows with the lights turned off, but with this cover, that's not an issue anymore.
I'm not saying that you all have to get suspicious right now or worry about the little lights and go out and buy this thing, but honestly, if it helps protect your family's privacy from potential prying eyes, blocks out bothersome lights, and protects your investment all at the same time, why not? In my eyes, the Pritect Sensor Cover is a pretty good solution, and it's not even that expensive to begin with. For just $10, I'd do it all over again, and I definitely recommend it, especially for those who have kids! So far they sell the Pritect Sensor Cover at Target, BestBuy, Micro Center, and Amazon, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it available soon at all retailers that carry video game products.
An enthusiast of gaming adventures as well as party and puzzle games. Writer, editor, translator, graphics designer, and a multitasker at heart. Maria has worked in the gaming industry since 2007, though she's been a gamer since the eighties. She proudly wore her Spain jersey when they won the 2010 World Cup!
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