The Microsoft Kinect is a fantastic device. It allows you to not only play games while capturing video and sound, but it can also identify specific individuals using advanced biometrics or 3D facial recognition. While plugged into your console your Kinect can see everything, and for most users, it also had direct connection to the internet. Paul Harper of Catalyst Components knows that the Kinect is like a giant window, it’s always open and you don’t really know who’s looking in. That’s why he set out to create Pritect, so you can close the blinds on that window.
Microsoft has already stated that the Kinect camera has the potential to record advertising data in any room where it’s places. According to Microsoft’s Dennis Durkin, COO of Interactive Entertainment Business, if people are watching a sports event, the Kinect’s camera can identify what jersey they are wearing so it can determine the team they support. This data is valuable to advertisers who can then tailor their advertising to that household. This great feature leaves a lot of doors open, let it be legit advertising, malicious hackers, or some other unforseen threat; if the camera is on, personal privacy has the potential to be compromised.
Here is where Pritect comes to use. The goal is simple, block the Kinect’s lenses while retaining the Kinect’s built-in calibration and voice command functions. Pritect is essential a slip-on cover for your Kinect made from high-gloss injection molded plastic. Whenever the Kinect’s video functions are not in use, slip the Pritect over your Kinect and game-on as usual.
Usability couldn’t be easier. Line up the Pritect so the cut-out is on the right side, and simply slide it onto your Kinect. The padded felt pads on the interior help insure nothing is scratched, and you can just leave the Pritect on until you wish to use the video functions. While the Pritect is on, not only can you not worry about prying eyes, but go back to enjoying home theater environments without the Kinect’s LEDs shining back at you. Good news for the aesthetically anal out there as well, the high gloss black finish pairs perfectly with the Kinect’s finish.
Complaints are hard to come by with such a simple device, the only coming to mind being the “why” factor. If you’re a parent or anyone concerned with privacy, that can easily be answered by a “why not?”
For a suggested retail price of $14.99, Pritect from Catalyst Components is an easy purchase for anyone who worries about privacy or family safety. Some might call it overkill, but should something happen and a malicious attack on the Kinect software arises, I for one rather be safe than sorry.