Microsoft is looking to give soldiers a little bit of a holiday morale boost by making a pretty big donation to dozens of USO centers around the world.
They plan to deliver 380 Xbox Kinect gaming systems to bases around the globe. Forty-two USO facilities will be getting the systems. These USO facilities provide soldiers services like phones, PCs, Wi-Fi, TVs and gaming stations. The 42 facilities that are receiving the 380 Kinect bundles support over 5 million troops and their families.
Of course, the system will be used for gaming – but Microsoft explains that the Kinect provides an opportunity for other worthwhile activities – like rehabilitation and diagnosis.
What’s more, U.S. soldiers are starting to see the benefits of the explosion of creativity we’ve seen since releasing the Kinect Software Development Kit. Four Wounded Warrior Facilities in Afghanistan will use Kinect in rehabilitative programs in forward bases where medical equipment is scarce. New Kinect applications will help medical staff determine when troops who have suffered from brain injuries, such as concussions, are able to go back into the field. The USO will work with the local groups to develop an analysis of the results from using Kinect as a tool for cognitive and memory reinforcement.
In Fort Campbell, KY, a brand new 8,500 sq. ft. USO center just opened with one particularly impressive feature: The giant UH-1 Huey helicopter sitting right in the middle of the space. They turned this old vehicle into a gaming center – equipped with three flat screens, Xbox 360s, and gaming chairs (pictured above).
The Kinects will arrive as part of their annual “Christmas Convoys,” which contain things like beanbag chairs, snacks, phone cards, and other essentials. The Kinect system’s practical use for military bases can be seen in some frames of the video below – mainly the hands free x-ray browsing and the rehabilitation games.