Biometric Devices: The Future of Microsoft’s Kinect and Gesture Tracking
As face, voice, and movement recognition continue to develop, we’ve seen numerous novel creations come down the pipeline. One device we’ve report on in recent months is Microsoft’s Kinect, which maybe be stealing some of the limelight Apple regularly bathes in. The New York Times posted an article detailing Microsoft’s Kinect, a movement-based gaming add-on for their popular Xbox 360 console. Kinect can track a player’s movements after identifying who they are. This progressive technology is right in line with some of the biometric and tracking or scanning devices we’ve written about at Eye Tracking Update.
The New York Times reported that in September, people spent a billion hours playing Xbox systems. Microsoft has sold 42 million Xbox 360 consoles and boasts 25 million people signed up for Xbox live, and they’re hoping to leverage some of those numbers as Kinect is unveiled, making for what they hope is a complete family gaming environment.
Many companies are allocating large portions of their budget towards refine gesture and voice recognition technology, and when a company as large and established as Microsoft throws their hat in the ring, it’s something to consider. The technology has been criticized as gimmicky, which is something Microsoft will need to overcome if they plan to make any headway, but it doesn’t sound like they’ve shied away from it and, frankly, they need a winner after a few disappointing innovations when compared to other leading tech competition.
Kinect worked with a Tel Aviv-based company called PrimeSense to create the technology used in the gesture control that is part of the Kinect system. PrimeSense links a standard web cam with a couple sensors, offering depth perception. One sensor works with infrared light, which supposedly solves the problem of inconsistent or spotty ambient light. Microsoft’s designers planned the system as something that could be used both in a small living room and a large basement den – they needed that sort of adaptability in their system in order to make everyone happy.
Using a series of algorithms to record the movements of 48 joints in bodies of their test subjects, Microsoft’s Kinect makes adjustments every 24 hours after connecting to the server and updating the system with upgrades to keep things running smoothly.
Users login with the wave of their hand, select options from the menus and then begin to move around, controlling their avatar by moving their body. Reading the article makes it sound pretty fun and time will tell as to how successful the endeavor is overall.
Success or not, it’s indicative of where we are going technologically, and it’s exciting to see any sort of tracking – gesture, eye, head, or voice on such a high profile product.
With Kinect, Microsoft Aims for a Game Changer
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