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.
With all the controversy over the NSA’s massive data mining operations, comedian Lewis Black has turned his eye toward two of the most potentially invasive new technologies that are primed to hit the market soon: Google Glass and Microsoft’s new Kinect sensor that can track your facial expressions. On The Daily Show this week, Black ridiculed a Glass promotional video that showed a woman looking at jellyfish in an aquarium who then asked Google to do a search for “jellyfish.” More →
A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Manitoba has developed a mobile app that uses depth-sensing cameras to alert people who are about to suffer collisions because they’re staring at their smartphones instead of watching where they’re going. The application, known as CrashAlert, is still in the early stages of development, but in the future it will work on smartphones that are equipped with cameras that can detect their surroundings. Juan Hincapié-Ramos, the app’s creator, tested CrashAlert using a 7-inch Acer tablet connected to Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor. The researcher then had volunteers play a mobile game while walking down a crowded hallway. More →
With all the emphasis that Microsoft is giving to its redesigned Kinect sensor as a key feature of the Xbox One, it’s not surprising that the company wants to bring it to its Windows operating system as well. And sure enough, Microsoft on Thursday announced that it will “deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year” that will deliver several improvements to the previous version of Kinect, including a higher resolution camera capable of more accurately tracking and identifying objects, an expanded field of view and improved skeletal tracking. Microsoft says it will share more details about the next-generation Kinect for Windows at its BUILD 2013 conference in June and also says that the new sensor will likely be available on Window-based devices sometime next year.
Microsoft on Tuesday announced a redesigned Kinect motion sensor at its Xbox One press event in Redmond, Washington. The accessory comes bundled with the new gaming console and delivers faster performance, improved gestures and voice recognition, and more. The sensor will allow for gamers to use a variety of voice commands to control the console, such as turning it on, watching tv, listening to music or searching the Web. Users can also navigate the Metro interface with pinch and swipe hand gestures. The Kinect can analyze a whopping 2GB of data per-second and is now equipped with a 1080p camera, a significant boost from the VGA sensor in the original model. Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console is expected to be available this holiday season.
Rumors have been circulating about Microsoft’s (MSFT) next-generation Xbox for quite some time now. Earlier reports suggested that the console may require an always-on Internet connection that could block used games and others claimed it could even include Siri-like voice controls. According to a new report from Kotaku, the Xbox 720 will be capable of running multiple games and services at once by allowing users to “suspend” their current game and switch to a second one without losing their place in the first one. More →
PrimeSense, the company behind one of the most exciting advancements in video game technology over the past decade, is setting its sights on the rest of the world. The Israel-based company develops sensor technology that is used most famously in Microsoft’s (MSFT) Kinect motion controller, and now PrimeSense has announced a new sensor dubbed “Capri” that is one-tenth the size of its earlier product. As Co.Design reports, the new chipset is small enough to fit in smartphones, tablets and a number of other devices, opening up a wide new range of possibilities. A concept video released recently by PrimeSense follows below. More →
Anyone who has ever used Kinect to control an Xbox 360’s dashboard knows that it can get tiring thanks to all the air swiping involved. Hacker extraordinaire Ben Heck took on the challenge of creating a Minority Report inspired “power glove” made from an accelerometer, gyroscope and Arduino controller to make gesture controls even more precise. With the leather glove on, button presses can be replaced with a finger pressing the palm. Various finger presses and twists can also be used to control the dashboard UI and video playback. “I wanted a glove to make the Xbox Kinect work the way we thought it would when it was announced,” Heck told Wired. Heck’s video describing how he made the power glove and how it works follows below, and it might make some readers wish this was the tech Microsoft (MSFT) introduced with the Kinect.
Microsoft’s Connected Car team, which is responsible for the technology used in systems such as Ford Sync, may be looking to further integrate the company’s solutions into future vehicles. According to a recent job listing on Microsoft’s website, the software giant is looking to integrate Windows 8, Windows Phone devices, Kinect, Windows Live, Bing, the Azure cloud platform and TellMe voice recognition technology into the next-generation of Connected Cars. More →
Microsoft recently filed a patent application for technology that would give its Xbox 360 Kinect sensor the ability to read users’ facial expressions and body language, thus enabling Microsoft to send them ads based on their emotional states. Jacob Aron at New Scientist writes that the technology in the patent application “suggests a company could choose which emotions would match to its adverts.” For example, Aron speculates that people who are generally happy might get fewer advertisements for weight-loss programs and more advertisements for new gadgets, while sad people might get fewer advertisements for local night clubs and confused people may get ads from “a technical support firm to help them out.” It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how people react to their own Xbox telling them that they’re depressed, stupid or overweight. More →
Microsoft on Monday revealed that its Xbox 360 gaming console is now the world’s top selling console, beating out the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, during its keynote at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that the software giant has no plans to introduce the next-generation Xbox until next year at the earliest, Microsoft’s Don Mattrick said “There never has been a better time to own an Xbox.” Read on for more. More →
Yusuf Mehdi, the CMO of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Division, announced on Tuesday that more than 67 million Xbox 360s have been sold since the console launched in 2005, and it has generated more than $56 billion in sales. The motion sensing input accessory, Kinect, has sold more than 19 million units and the company’s Xbox Live service now boast 40 million members. Xbox users are spending more time on the system and are averaging 84 hours of usage each month. Mehdi also revealed that Microsoft holds a 47% market share of the current-generation console market, however he did note that sales, while continuing to increase year-over-year, are slowing down. More →