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Some of the most enthusiastic applause during the May 21 unveiling of Xbox One came during demos of the brand-new Kinect. It’s not hard to see why when you watch the two new videos that dive into the details of the eyes, ears and brains behind the updated device.
For starters, the new Kinect has three times the fidelity of the first-generation Kinect, so it can recognize details like the wrinkles in your shirt, facial expressions and the fingers on your hand. Game developers will take advantage of this heightened fidelity to deliver more realistic gameplay, and the ways you interact with your Xbox will improve as the device recognizes more of your movements.
The new Kinect also has a larger field of view – enabling you to stand close up or far away, or play with more people – and a 2D, 1080p color camera that’s great for full-screen Skype conversations.
Another new “eyes” feature is active infrared (IR). With it, Kinect can detect your movements in dimly lit rooms – such as when you’re playing a game in the dark or watching a movie.
The “ears” of Kinect has also improved in remarkable ways. The video above showcases how the new sensor removes room noise and reflection so your voice commands simply work – even in the midst of loud game play and other cacophony.
The second video (shown just above) demonstrates the “brains” of Kinect, which incorporates a phenomenal range of technologies including computer vision, machine learning, speech recognition, facial recognition and digital signal processing.
First the video looks at skeletal tracking, demonstrating the fidelity of joints and the anatomical correctness the new Kinect can display. Everything from your hip, spine and shoulder movements to the tips of your fingers can be incorporated into gameplay.
The orientation of body movement is also shown, demonstrating how Kinect can accurately depict and reflect what your body is doing.
The videos above show just a few of the ways the Xbox team and Microsoft Research have re-engineered Kinect to make it more precise, more responsive and more intuitive. As you watch the videos, keep in mind they provide but a glimpse of what’s to come as game and entertainment creators take advantage of the new capabilities to bring this advanced technology to life.
Steve Clarke Microsoft News Center Staff