Microsoft will be releasing a new XBox device sometime this fall, that up until now has been codenamed “Project Natal.” The device is a video chat and user body movement sensor that sits on the television or XBox and not only allows you to transmit video for chat over XBox Live, but also senses your body movements for various games such as the much-anticipated Star Wars coming this fall.
The new device is being called the Microsoft Kinect. The unit uses lasers and form-recognition software to recognize the body of the user. It then translates this to movements for in-game play, such as swinging a Jedi sword or doing yoga exercises.
The Kinect has no price tag yet and Microsoft has not been specific about it’s date of release, but most are guessing this fall for the holiday booster sales season. The Kinect can handle up to four people at once in video conferencing, but only recognizes (by all accounts) one person’s movements at a time, so head-to-head play is out unless you’re playing over XBox Live.
Microsoft held a celebrity-filled unveiling and showed off the device along with half a dozen or so new games coming to shelves soon. Everything from the new Star Wars to yoga, a baby tiger pet simulator, and an MTV-developed dance simulator.
The Kinect is a unique device and is Microsoft’s answer to the Wii motion-sensing paddles. Very interesting.