Microsoft is betting big on its next-generation version of its Kinect motion sensor. The device has been packed in with every one of its upcoming Xbox One consoles, ensuring that all Xbox gamers will have a Kinect.
This has caused more than a grumble in some segments of the gaming community. Kinect games of the current generation were, in general, embarrassingly bad. In addition, the new Kinect has obviously contributed highly to the Xbox One's $100 price premium over Sony's PlayStation 4.
Regardless of whether gamers will want to use the Kinect to play games or watch TV, the tech displayed in the device itself is impressive.
Microsoft Research today put out two videos demonstrating the capabilities of the new Kinect sensor. The first demonstrates the higher fidelity 3D vision, larger field of view, and new "active IR" mode that come with the device.
The second shows the new wireframe skeleton the Kinect can create to sense motion, which now has two hand point to detect claw-like motions. In addition to movement, the device can use a blocky shape to detect the orientation of different body parts or a blobby shape that depicts how much force is being applied to various muscle groups in the body. The much-touted heart rate monitoring capability of the new Kinect is also demonstrated. It uses color video and IR sensing together to detect a pulse rate through subtle color change in faces:
Though the tech might not be right for gaming or replacing a TV remote, creative PC developers will undoubtedly find some futuristic uses for the new Kinect.