Microsoft's Next-Generation Kinect Sensor to Read Lips - Rumours

Kinect High-Precision Sensor May Have Ultimate Capabilities

by Anton Shilov
12/01/2011 | 08:32 PM

Despite of  breaking Guinness Book of Record's world's fastest selling consumer device, Microsoft Kinect motion sensor has got a fair amount of criticism for its relatively low precision. But the next-generation sensor known as Kinect HP2 (high precision) will apparently be so much more advanced that it will be able to read lips, according to market rumours.


The next-gen Kinect sensor with improved precision will be able to track head, detect emotions and even read lips, according to an unofficial information reported by Eurogamer web-site. Improved precision will allow Microsoft to develop more advanced video games with Kinect-based controls. For example, first-person shooters (FPS) could greatly benefit of the Kinect HP as it would allow gamers to control directions of their movements by their bodies and would be able to change direction of sight using heads.

"If the rumors of Kinect 2's performance are true, it's possible the device could make inroads with core gamers. Core gamers did not really find any significant use for the first Kinect, and it was primarily used by casual gamers. Head tracking analyzes a gamer's head movements and amplifies these movements in the game, allowing the player to look around in an aircraft or while driving a car," said Ted Pollak, a senior analyst for the gaming industry with Jon Peddie Research, in a brief interview by TechNewsWorld web-site.

Current-generation Kinect sensor features an RGB camera, a depth sensor (with 640*480 resolution), audio sensors, and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48 points of movement on the human body. Specifications of Kinect HP are unknown, but it is believed that the main limitation of Kinect today is slow USB port that transfers data from the device to the Xbox 360 system. Therefore, technically it is possible to install new sensors and either use faster connection or compress the data before sending it to USB.

Even though it is relatively easy to improve Kinect sensor from technology point of view, one should understand that availability of different Kinect sensors for Xbox 360 will cause a mess on the market. Microsoft is unlikely to release Kinect HP for the current game console, but launch it along with the Xbox Next or specifically for the PC. Rumours point to availability of Xbox Loop in 2013 and Kinect HP2 in 2014. Some believe that Microsoft will release its next-gen console already in 2012.

Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.