All proper sci-fi nerds have long dreamed of being able to take a trip in the Holodeck, a virtual reality chamber located on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise where you can simulate any time, place and situation you want to be in. Oliver Kreylos, a computer science professor and researcher at the University of California, Davis, has come the closest we’ve seen yet to creating a working Holodeck and he’s done it using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and three Kinect sensors from a previous-generation Xbox. More →
Microsoft on Wednesday unveiled the second version of Kinect for Windows, as previously rumored. The device looks similar to the Kinect sensor that comes with the Xbox One, and packs a 1080p camera with a wide view. The company further demoed the imaginative ways developers are already using Kinect for Windows to come up with new useful apps and games. “We think this is the future, we think this is the way we’ll all be interacting with computers,” the company said. More →
No, the device you see in the image above this post is not the unbundled Xbox One Kinect we’ve been requesting, but rather the second version of the Kinect for Windows hardware due out later this year. Since the Kinect that comes bundled with the Xbox One no longer uses a standard USB connector, you’ll have no choice but to pick up Kinect for Windows v2 if you want motion controls on your PC. The sensor is nearly identical to the Xbox One model, save for the “Kinect” logo across the top, replacing the Xbox symbol. Unlike the Xbox Kinect, Kinect for Windows requires both a hub and a power supply. The hub features connections for USB 3.0, the sensor itself and the power supply. According to Microsoft, the Kinect is getting “closer and closer to launch,” and it promises to keep us posted for the official announcement.
Kinect was supposed to be the Xbox One’s key differentiator from the PlayStation 4 but it may be doing more to drag the console down than anything else. We already knew that Kinect’s mandatory inclusion with Xbox One has been hurting potential sales growth because it’s added an extra $100 to the price. However, a new survey from Fixya, a self-described “community based trouble-shooting resource,” has found that it’s not just price that makes Kinect a problem for the Xbox One — it’s functionality as well. More →
As we’ve noted in the past, Microsoft’s amazing Kinect technology has applications that go far beyond the realm of gaming, including helping stroke victims recover their motor skills. Kotaku has spotted a report in Korean publication Hankooki that details how Kinect is being used to help guard the demilitarized zone that separates North Korea and South Korea. More →
As we expected, the battle of the fanboys rages ever onward into the new generation of game consoles. Spurious claims and exaggerated anecdotes are being wielded like weapons as both sides charge through the comments sections of your favorite blogs, but underneath all of the cacophony, one fact rings true: PlayStation 4 games have more consistent frame rates than their Xbox One counterparts. It isn’t prevalent in every multiplatform title, but Call of Duty: Ghosts and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition have been two notable examples of the deficit between the two. Fortunately, Microsoft appears to be working toward a solution, and it apparently involves the Kinect. More →
Although plenty of us are content with using the latest video game technology such as Microsoft’s Kinect to simulate flailing around in order to hit a virtual tennis ball, scientists are finding incredible uses for these devices that have already led to advances in the medical field. Microsoft Research released a video earlier this week showing off Stroke Recovery with Kinect, an amazing project “that provides a virtual reality system to help stroke survivors improve their upper-limb motor functioning in the comfort of their own home.” More →
The rumored Surface Mini Windows tablet that wasn’t introduced alongside the new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 earlier this year is still coming, a report from Chinese publication WPDang (via UnwiredView) claims, adding that some Kinect-like functionality will be included. Apparently the Surface Mini will be launched in 2014 and feature an 8-inch display with Full HD 1080p resolution and an Intel Bay Trail processor under the hood. Most interestingly, the Surface Mini is said to include face recognition and touchless control features, even though the bigger Surface 2 models lack such features. More →
As the month of next-generation console releases begins, both Sony and Microsoft are tying up every loose end that they can in order to provide as clear a picture as possible of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A major point of contention for many gamers in regards to the Xbox One has been the lack of clarification about how the Kinect will distribute the information it stores. In order to answer these questions, Microsoft updated its Privacy Statement to shed light on the specifics of the Kinect’s ability to gather information. More →
When Microsoft first began sharing details of the new Kinect, Xbox users were immediately suspicious of how the next-generation console would make use of a camera that was always powered on. Eventually the negative press forced Microsoft’s hand, and the Kinect is now no longer required for the Xbox One to turn on. Despite this concession, gamers were still concerned about an interview earlier this year in which a Microsoft employee suggested that the Kinect might use the data it collects in order to create targeted ads for Xbox One owners. Microsoft Director of Product Planning Albert Pinello took to NeoGAF to deny this claim. More →
The motion sensing technology in the current generation of video game consoles left something to be desired. Despite a successful launch and some impressive tech within, Xbox 360’s Kinect never quite received the critical acclaim or the developer backing Microsoft must have hoped for. The Kinect team had an even taller order this time around, as the Kinect was no longer an optional accessory — for the next generation, Microsoft wanted to make the Kinect an inseparable part of the Xbox One. As the hardware team explains on Microsoft’s TechNet blog, the pressure was immense and on more than one occasion, the team wasn’t sure if they would have the product ready in time. More →
When it comes to gaming, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor is clearly one of the biggest developments in recent history — and the best is yet to come when Microsoft debuts its all new sensor alongside the Xbox One. But the Kinect is much more than just a gaming accessory, and Microsoft researchers have shown time and time again that the possibilities with Kinect are nearly endless. In what might be the Kinect’s most impressive feat yet, researchers from Microsoft’s labs have teamed up with the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences to begin developing technology that allows the Kinect to recognize sign language and translate it into text. Development of this hugely important tech is still in the early stages but Microsoft says results so far have been “encouraging in enabling people whose primary language is sign language to interact more naturally with their computers.” A video demo can be seen below. More →
An anonymous Microsoft employee claims that manufacturing the Kinect sensor costs “almost as much” as manufacturing the Xbox One. The information was revealed in an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, which was verified to be authentic by Reddit moderators. The employee explained that the Kinect plays a major role in the Xbox One experience, adding that Microsoft bundled the sensor with the system to ensure all developers and gamers had access to it for every game. He said that Microsoft took a gamble with the new Kinect sensor, noting that it “costs almost as much as the console to make” and “the success of the Kinect carries much more weight” for Microsoft than the Xbox One. He went on to explain that the sensor is an “integral part of the Xbox One experience.” The high cost of manufacturing the Kinect sheds light on the company’s controversial pricing strategy. The Xbox One will be available later this year starting at $499, a $100 premium over Sony’s PlayStation 4.