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10th June 2011

Professor Andrew Blake wins award for Xbox Kinect

Former Exeter Fellow, Professor Andrew Blake, was presented with the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award last week for work on the Microsoft Xbox 360’s Kinect.

Professor Blake, who was Fellow in Engineering at Exeter College from 1987 to 1999, led a team of five as they took the Kinect from concept to shop shelves in just over two years. The award of 50,000 pounds was presented to the team at London’s Guildhall on Monday, 6 June.

The Kinect allows controller-free computer gaming and has opened up new possibilities for computer console enthusiasts and novices alike. However the possibilities aren’t limited to gaming. To take just one potential use, it is anticipated that ‘Kinect’ technology will allow surgeons to operate hands-free computers in the operating theatre.

“For our work on machine learning for Kinect, and indeed the field of computer science, to be recognised by the top engineering award in the UK, makes us very proud,” Professor Blake said on receiving the Award.

In the first two months after its launch in 2010, the Kinect sold eight million devices, making it the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever.

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