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What Are the Different Kinect® Features?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

While a number of different Kinect® features are available when using a Kinect® sensor device with an appropriate secondary system, several of them are key features for the device. The two major features are voice recognition and visual detection of player location. These provide the Kinect® system with the ability to recognize and accept voice commands from users, as well as visually identify the location and position of the user for physical controls and commands. Other Kinect® features are primarily based on software used with the Kinect® and can range from interface controls through voice and motion to the ability to digitize physical objects for virtual manipulation.

There are a number of Kinect® features possible when using the Kinect® sensor device with a secondary system, such as an Xbox 360® gaming console or a computer. Most of these features, however, stem from the hardware included with the Kinect® sensor. The two major features are the microphone that can detect voice commands and the camera in the sensor.

Two young boys
Two young boys

Within the sensor device is a microphone responsible for many of the popular Kinect® features being developed. The microphone can detect voices and isolate the sound of vocal instructions from other ambient or environmental sounds. This allows software and firmware with the Kinect® system to recognize vocal instructions to allow users to manipulate game controls and user interface (UI) options through voice commands.

Many of the most unique Kinect® features, however, are based on the camera system within the sensor device. The sensor basically creates a grid of infrared light in an area in front of the device, which is received by a camera in the sensor. This data is then used by firmware and software to create a virtual representation of the environment and recognize human figures within that environment. Once people are recognized, then motion controls are possible, as movement and changes to that figure can allow for game control and UI interaction.

Other Kinect® features that have been created and continue to be developed are based on these two primary systems. Game control, for example, is made possible through voice recognition, which allows players to issue vocal commands to the game itself. Motion controls then let players move their bodies in real space to control characters and objects within a game.

UI controls are possible in a number of different ways, including the ability for someone to navigate menus through voice commands and select options based on physical movements that relate to the virtual environment. New Kinect® features continue to be introduced, including the ability to “scan” objects from the real world into a virtual environment, using the camera in the sensor. Kinect® users can then manipulate the virtual version of the object through a combination of voice and motion controls.

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