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Student project makes use of Kinect and Windows Phone to teach cultural norms

Ro Ramtohul is a student, studying at the University of Dundee, Scotland, who has been working on a project called "reculture" for the final year of his course (Digital Interaction Design), and it involves a Windows Phone. Those who primarily reside in the West (or share the same stereotypical ignorance towards foreign cultures as the British) are being targeted by Ramtohul for some interactive education.

The project, as can be witnessed in the above video, is a Windows Phone app that works with the Kinect for Xbox 360, much like we've seen with previous concepts. As opposed to learning the language, or reading blocks of tedious text, Ramtohul's work will have the user engage physically using gestures. The Windows Phone app will compliment the Kinect by acting as a type of 'instruction manual'. Users are alerted by a notification when they're in the proximity of the Kinect and can watch a small video within the mobile app illustrating what gesture is required to be carried out (accompanied by some details about the culture).

Gestures (and cultures) alternate on a daily basis, with the above Japanese greeting acting as a single example - a successful command turns on the TV. It's a really neat concept and we look forward to see how the development pans out. You can find out more about what motivated Ramtohul with reculture, as well as checking out more videos of his work via the links below. The project is full steam ahead with more cultures and gestures being programmed - of course, the British gesture will be drinking a cup of tea.

Source: reculture, Vimeo (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • This is off subject, but doesn't it seem like the iPad hype blew in and out like a Florida thunderstorm? Is it just me or hasn't the iPad made a bigger impact in recent years? This could be Nokias queue!
  • Its true, lol it came and went overnight . Its a big disappointment.
  • iYawn, lol.
  • That's quite an offensive remark about the British being ignorant of other cultures.
  • It's a sweeping statement sure but speaking as a mixed-race briton, it is fairly accurate. He wasn't talking about racism, just cultural unawareness.
  • Well, Rich (the writer of the post) is a Brit, so that's between you and him ;)
  • It saddens me to agree with this;)
  • Not quite sure how I'm being offensive to myself, but if you're not aware of such problems in the country then you really shouldn't take statements like these to heart.
  • is it me or am I not understanding the "significance" of this concept? I've been watching some concept videos today and was impressed with the beer-serving robot and the follow-my-lead shopping cart.  But this one makes my head scratch.  I'm sorry don't mean to sound rude or ignorant. Just need someone to spell it out for me.  Also, I'm Asian, so this greeting thing is nothing foreign to me.
  • The idea is this: you want to learn more cultural norms and practices e.g. bowing in Japan. You want to go watch TV but before you do so, you need to do your "cultural homework" so as you step in front of the TV (with Kinect) it gives you your assignment. If you want to watch TV, you have to complete the "task" (here the proper bow) and when you've done so, the TV turns on. It's a sophisticated reward system.
  • thanks Daniel, I guess I see it more clearly now that you spelled out the reward-effect. I can now see this being useful in a classroom setting when teaching unfamiliar cultural norms.  Thanks!
  • Think of it as more of an exploration of a concept rather than a real world application.  I could see a use for this on schools maybe as part of a cultural awareness class or something but this guy is just making something original for his final project. 
  • I don't get it, he bows and the tv turn on a football match? Is he just showing that gestures can turn on different video clips in the future?
  • He is proving that if you show the TV respect it will return the favor. If he had sworn at it, Real Housewives of Orange County would have come on.
  • Hahaha!
  • :-P
  • I'd love a version of this app that will teach British traditions to foreigners. Or forget the traditions and instead teach things like which side of the road to walk on or side of the escalator to stand on, concepts like person space, being polite to each other, giving way to elderly - and all the other things new arrivals tend to ignore.
  • How about cultural awareness of the United States or British? If i travel abroad, I expect I would try to learn the culture of my destination. But i expect the same in return.
  • The Kinect is awesome.