The Microsoft Kinect was originally designed as a gaming tool, and while it was used in a couple of games, it’s starting to look like Microsoft might have accidentally created a tool that might be more useful outside of gaming. A good example would be how researchers successfully used the Kinect to scan the skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

The researchers had previously relied on high-resolution dental scanners, but after discovering that the scanner could not handle a jaw of that magnitude, they decided to turn to the use of the Kinect along with some free software and ended up scanning the entire skull of the dinosaur.

According to Anshuman Das, a research scientist at the Camera Culture group (part of MIT’s Media Lab), “A lot of people will be able to start using this. That’s the message I want to send out to people who would generally be cut off from using technology — for example, paleontologists or museums that are on a very tight budget. There are so many other fields that could benefit from this.”

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Kinect being used for non-gaming purposes. For example we’ve seen it used for treating patients with multiple sclerosis, shopping, and even stroke recovery.

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