An infrared projector and camera give the Kinect its depth perception. By measuring how long the emitted infrared light takes to reflect back from objects it encounters, the device can figure out the room’s layout.
By E r i c a NaoNE
How the device can respond to your voice and gestures
The MicrosofT KinecT is
the first consumer product that lets people control an interface using gesture and voice alone. An add-on for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 videogame console, the sensorpacked device can determine your position and interpret vocal commands, all without requiring you to hold any special controllers or wear special clothing. At $150 retail, it is a relatively inexpensive way to try a next-generation interface. You might, for example, play Dance central, a movement game made by harmonix that teaches dance moves, watches how well you perform them, and tracks how many calories you burn during a play session. 82
Another camera picks up the normal human visual spectrum. In addition to helping the device determine a user’s position, it takes photos of people playing games. Users can share these photos through Xbox Live.
The brains of the Kinect are split across three circuit boards. One board contains chips that process audio input, another has an accelerometer that monitors the device’s tilt, and the third has a chip that handles the image processing.
technology review January/February 2011
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The Kinect picks up voice commands by means of four downward-facing built-in microphones. By comparing its visual sense of the user’s position with the sounds it detects in the room, it can judge whether a sound is coming from the user or, say, from television speakers or side conversations. Then it can filter out this background noise and zero in on the commands.
A motor in the base controls a set of...