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The Microsoft Cube is the company’s Kinect-powered art installation

Third-party developers have grown very fond of building neat stuff with the Kinect, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft itself would create projects using this technology. Enter the Cube, a five-sided, Kinect-powered box which can interact with people around it — the company describes it as a “canvas for a new kind of creative expression” and a “technological sculpture that’s a venue for new types of interactive art.” You can dance, or make other random body gestures, in front of it and the Cube will project that image onto one of its panels, in a rather colorful way, no less; think of it as what you would see on a game like Just Dance, but minus the layer of flashy outfits. Microsoft’s Cube isn’t all about the Kinect, however.

What do you get when you combine multiple PCs, projectors, and Kinect sensors? A four-foot Microsoft Cube. It’s the latest interactive art installation out of Redmond, with pulsating music and Kinect sensors that let you dance through a zany virtual portal. Microsoft’s Cube is essentially a projection system that uses 5 PCs, 5 projectors, and 4 Kinect sensors to create an interactive dance party. Unlike Microsoft’s giant touchscreens, this isn’t a product the company will be selling, it’s simply an experiment for Seattle’s Decibel music and arts festival. If anything, it’s Microsoft showing off an emerging culture of hacking at the company, where employees are encouraged to experiment with projects outside their usual remit. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently held a “hackfest” at the company’s headquarters to encourage projects like the Cube, but the Cube itself took “many months” to create according to the company. Right now Microsoft’s Cube is being used as a virtual dance party with Kinect, producing visualizations that look like they’re straight out of something from Winamp rather than an impressive spherically shaped digital globe.

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