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South Korea Monitors Their Border With Microsoft’s Kinect, at Least Somebody Found a Use for It

If you're really good at Kinect games, will they recruit you Last Starfighter-style?


For the Xbox One, Microsoft pulled out all the stops and developed an incredibly powerful version of the original Kinect, and pretty much no one cared, because they just want it to play games and be $100 cheaper like the PlayStation 4. All that technology won’t go to waste, though, because a South Korean programmer put it to work on the nation’s border.

The demilitarized zone (DMZ) that serves as a buffer between North Korea and South Korea is probably the most heavily guarded 160-mile long, 2.5-mile wide strip of land in the entire world, and the South Korean side’s security now relies heavily on the Kinect. While it was revealed only last month, the system, designed by self-taught programmer Jae Kwan Ko, has been in place since August, so it seems to be working pretty well.

Details are scarce, which is either to keep the system as secure as possible or because South Korea doesn’t want the North to realize they’re using the DMZ as a their own private Kinect playhouse. Hey, the original Kinect needs a lot of empty space to play.

It’s even a little unclear whether they use the actual Kinect hardware or just a modified version of its software with more advanced cameras, but it seems to be the latter, despite how I’m enjoying imagining a bunch of actual Kinect hardware units mounted out there. If you somehow manage to go take a look for yourself, let me know.

Anyway, Ko told Korean news site Hankooki that they’re planning on adding in the features of the new Kinect when it becomes available, but the Xbox One hasn’t launched in South Korea yet. Right now, the security system can tell the difference between humans and animals and alert the military when a human is detected in the DMZ, but the updated Kinect will allow them to track heartbeats and heat signatures for even better accuracy.

And you thought you were impatient to get your hands on an Xbox One.

(Hankooki via Polygon, image via Cha già José)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.