Microsoft Kinect was announced as Project Natal in 2009. Since then it has shaken up the entire gaming console experience. It almost seems magical that the player can “see” their body movements and reproduce it within the video game. Microsoft Kinect also has face and voice recognition technology, which is quite brilliant. It can identify from a group of people in the same room using these features.
‘Kinetic’ and ‘Connect’
Kinect’s official release was in 2010 when it was termed as a new addition to Microsoft’s Xbox 360 product line. The name comes from the combination of the words ‘kinetic’ and ‘connect’, which means to be in constant motion and to be in touch with friends and entertainment, respectively.
The features of Kinect
Microsoft Kinect is a highly innovative and intelligent combination of microphones, camera and software, which turns the player’s body into the video game controller. Microsoft Kinect turns the Xbox 360 into a voice-activated and controlled console with facial recognition and video capturing. This is applicable to everything from creating a digital network to selecting a particular TV show.
Kinect as an Xbox Live enhancement
The microphones and cameras of Kinect are used by the Xbox Live Video Chat as parts for a webcam. You can use it to chat with multiple people at once.
Apart from this Microsoft also joined hands with ESPN to create a live enthusiastic and interactive sports experience. This is a new feature that all the Xbox Live Gold users can experience. This way, you can not only watch and enjoy the sporting event in HD, but you can also “interact and join” other fans. You can cheer for your team during games and also answer fun sports trivia questions using this technology.
The optical setup in Kinect is what lets it track the movements of the player in real time. The technology has been existent for almost 15 years now has intricate features. The functions and effects on the other hand, were developed quite recently.
The movements are tracked using a projector and an IR VGA camera. The projector passes a safe laser along the entire play area to help the camera separate the players from the furniture. Depending on the distance from the screen the bodies can appear in different shades on the screen. The people who are nearest are in bright shades of green and red. The people further away appear grayish in color.
The software of Kinect takes all these images and runs it through a line of filters that determines what a person is and what is not. It is also developed to pick out distinct features like baggy clothes or messy hair. This is quite accurate and impressive on the part of the developers.
Once all this is done, the images are converted into skeletons with moving joints. Kinect has preloaded 200 common poses, which can be filled into places when the camera can’t make out your present move. All in all, impressive technology is used in Kinect to make video gaming, an enjoyable experience.