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No Kinect sex yet, but the potential is there

Microsoft's new motion-sensitive controller may not have been designed with adult activity in mind, but to one expert in mashup technology and sex, it's a no-brainer that the two will eventually meet.

Kinect, from Microsoft, has a wide range of uses. But Microsoft may not have imagined the motion-controller as a sex toy. Others have. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

You knew it was coming. It was inevitable. And, yes, I'm talking about Kinect sex.

With almost any hot new tech toy, especially one with a heavy degree of interactivity--which Microsoft's motion-sensitive controller has in spades--someone is going to try to hack it and try to make it X-rated. The Kinect is no exception.

To date, there are no overtly sexual Kinect games on the market, though the folks who put together Kinect MotionSwinger (pretty NSFW) would like you to believe--for a moment at least--otherwise. But that's nothing more than a joke concept for a Kinect sex game put together with some imagery from Second Life.

Still, when it comes to finding ways to utilize new technology for, shall we say, lewd purposes, there are few people more qualified thank Kyle (qDot) Machulis, the dean of the underground sex-tech genre known as teledildonics.

In a Sunday blog post titled "Kinect Sex--Because you knew I'd make this post sooner or later," Machulis finally brings his trained eye to the project that countless millions were surely waiting for him to get around to and evaluates the kink potential of the device Microsoft is hoping may breathe new life into its Xbox 360 video game console.

The question, as Machulis delicately puts it, is "How can I [have sex]" using Kinect?

As he quickly points out, Kinect most likely wasn't designed for such a purpose, and though the device was made to recognize even minute movements by a person's body, it's geared to look for our larger limbs, like arms and legs.

"Microsoft put a ton of work into making the Kinect track the human body as a whole, so you can play games by jumping and running and generally acting the...fool and feel like you're in the game instead of just sad," Machulis wrote. "Genitalia, for the most part, are not a major geometric feature of the human body when taken in perspective of physical size....Neither are they normally used in the control of video games, be they rated [for all] or [for adults only]."

Machulis said he experimented by waving a sex toy in front of a Kinect, and then by wagging his tongue around in front of it, and concluded that the graphics quality isn't very good, though the device was capable of picking up both the toy and his tongue.

"In short, porn is about sex, but for many customers, it's also about being able to see the sex in a way that doesn't make you think, 'Wait, why does her arm detach completely when her [breast] is in front of it,'" Machulis wrote. "The pattern the Kinect uses to get depth data is made for picking up full bodies to control video games, and therefore isn't quite so good at picking up minutiae about those bodies."

Yet, Machulis also points out that because the Kinect is both very good at picking up hand-based gestures and capable of identifying discrete body parts like "manbreasts" (see video below), there is the distinct possibility that the device could be used to digitize--albeit with less than ideal graphics quality--simulated sexual motions.

Kinect Titty Tracker from Dan Wilcox on Vimeo.

"The Kinect alleviates the need for having hardware, because now as long as we have a shot of the 'action,' as it were, we can use that 'gesture' as a control," Machulis wrote. "Not only that, the gesture itself is the toy. Or you could employ a toy under the gesture."

There are limits, of course. Without being too graphic, it seems that though presenting good quality imagery based on some hand-gesture-oriented sexual activity may currently be "out of the Kinect's normal operating procedure," Machulis suggested that "I'm sure we'll figure something out."

More to the point, it appears Machulis is hoping that others who are into mashing up technology and sexuality will "prove me a sexual Luddite once again. At least I hope they will."