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How it works: Avatar Kinect

The facial recognition technology that powers Microsoft's new chat feature

Briefly rumoured and now officially announced for Spring, Microsoft's newest Kinect feature: Avatar Kinect will provide a virtual environment in which your virtual avatar can conference with friends, perform concerts, chat and generally hang out. If that sounds familiar, Avatar Kinect does have a clever feature which sets it aside from Sony's Home: facial recognition and real-time expressions.

Basically, when you're hanging out with friends in any of the fifteen virtual environments, Kinect will track your facial expressions and speech, relaying them directly to the chat and performing them with your avatar alongside larger body movements.

Hopefully, this should remove the need for clumsy text emoticons and some pre-set actions such as the internationally reviled dance command, but it also shows a hint of what sort of accuracy Kinect could be capable of in terms of game applications.

On top of the chat and conference functions, Kinect Avatar will allow users to record directed shows - be they chat shows, stand up routines or heated debates - edit the footage and share it among friends. Moderation measures will presumably be in place. Check out the video below for a brief explanation of how the facial recognition features of the service will work.

Facial recognition techniques could come to play an important part in games.

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Latest comments (8)

David Bachowski VP Business Development, Babaroga5 years ago
hopefully this technology will allow my avatar to do my grocery shopping and laundry as well
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic5 years ago
Only if you don't mind feeling 'virtually full', and wearing the emperor's new clothes ;-)
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Jeffrey Kesselman CTO, Nphos5 years ago
This is brilliant, but we need it based on tech built into every desktop, the way cameras are today.

Once we have that, this + *good* voice masking (its possible, its just never been done the right way) will revolutionize MMORPGs.
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Show all comments (8)
Rebecca Rachmany Marketing, Omek Interactive5 years ago
Just what I need: something that will detect when I roll my eyes at someone stupid, and lets them immediately know in realitime.
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Andrea Santambrogio Videogames Translator, CultureTranslate5 years ago
Is it just me or the avatar actually blinks *only once* throughout the video?
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Robert Turner Studying Games Programming, SAE Institute5 years ago
Yeh, but you wont be able to use any of these features while sitting down.
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University5 years ago
so when there someone danceing, you know they are danceing in RL?

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Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive5 years ago
@ Robert. Why do you think this won't work while you are sitting down? Sure, it may not work as well as standing for obvious reason (for full body emote) but this tech is mostly about facial recognition so I don't see why not. My 4 years old little girl plays Kinectimals all the time sitting on her chair.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Saehoon Lee on 25th January 2011 11:34am

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