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Here’s what Kinect sees when it looks at you

The Kinect has been a funny old bit of hardware. While it has its uses, like dance games, it's never really enamoured itself with a gaming public. Microsoft didn't do it much of a service either, by suggesting earlier this year, that with the Xbox One it would always be on, watching and listening, giving it this creepy, voyeur vibe. Fortunately that feature is no longer mandatory, but to further help alleviate any concerns, Microsoft has posted up a couple of videos showcasing what the new version is capable of have been released, detailing new sensitivities and showcasing how much more accurate the hardware has become.

In the first part of the demonstration, we see a man dancing around on camera and a skeletal tracking image, showing all the joints and structural points that the camera can pick up – including thumb and extended finger points, allowing for claw like, grasping to be tracked. Orientation is also reorded, letting the Kinect tell which way heads, arms and legs are facing. It's not perfectly accurate, but it's not bad.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMo1puNjOuc']

The third model that Kinect tracks, is the muscular one. Built on top of the skeletal model, “muscle man,” can detect force being placed by any part of the body at any time. This lets Kinect tell how much weight is put onto each foot, or how much effort a user puts into a faux punch.

Nobody suggested Microsoft employees knew how to throw a good punch though…

Kicking things up into extra creepy mode, Microsoft goes on to explain in the video (thanks AGB), that Kinect can also track your heart rate, thanks to Kinect tracking minor colour variations in a user's face, thereby detecting blood flow and pulse. That sounds like a feature we'll seriously regret when this thing sprouts legs and starts wandering around using knives, and stabbing weapons.

The second demo video showcases the 3D vision capabilities of the new Kinect camera, which is said to be as much as three times more sensitive than the original Kinect was. We can see individual details of his face and fingers, along with some deep details in the backdrop. We also see that the user can stand much closer to the camera and move around in a much wider field of play and still remain detected. 

If you're wanting to Skype call though, you don't want that bass relief look, so what's a gamer to do? Use the 1080p 2D colour camera of course. This can even be used as a night vision camera too, thanks to what Microsoft terms, “active IR.” 

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tmtuLDkLOI']

Kitguru Says: Some interesting stuff on show there. Not sure I like a camera that clever watching me in the lounge all the time though. I already turn my webcam face down even when it's not plugged in. I don't want to have to do that in my living room too. 

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