South Korea is using technology to protect its demilitarized zone (DMZ) border with the North using something that is in many people’s homes: game console sensors.
According to a report by Defense News, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) motion sensing technology, used in the company’s popular Xbox Kinect gaming console, actually has more purposes than just virtual dance competitions and fake shooter gaming. It’s being used in one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world. The hands-free technology of the Xbox Kinect relies on motion sensors, a device that has been implemented on the South Korean side of the DMZ after being modified by South Korean programmers.
The DMZ, the unpopulated buffer zone between the two nations (still technically at war) is 2.5 miles wide and 155 miles long. The area is heavily guarded, watched at both ends, and fortified with layers of fences, mine fields and various traps and barriers. As such, according to the report, it has unintentionally created one of the best-preserved natural habitats on Earth, now home to scores of wildlife. The unique software, which was developed by Ko Jae-Kwan, the founder and president of South Korean technology company Saewan Co., has been adopted by the military because of its advanced technology that can differentiate between human and animal movement.
Speaking to the AFP, Ko, 39, said that his device could detect sound, movement and direction of anything attempting to cross the DMZ and immediately alert border guards.
“Existing sensors, which had been in place along the border, were highly efficient but could not tell the difference between humans and animals, sending wrong signals frequently,” Ko said. The new devices have now been in place since August of last year, he said, adding that he has plans for continued improvement. Ko says he hopes to have an updated version that will be capable of detecting heart rates and body temperature, a feature already included in the newest Xbox One console.