Microsoft isn't resting on their laurels - and by laurels, I mean piles of cash - when it comes to Kinect. Hot off yesterday's news that the Redmond giant is preparing to unveil no less than ten new Kinect titles at E3, they've just announced Avatar Kinect, a new feature owners of the peripheral can enjoy, which scans and then projects your face and expressions into a virtual environment where you can invite up to seven friends to make faces at.
Avatar Kinect started life as a completely unrelated project in a Microsoft Research laboratory, where the Startup Business Group were investigating the 'geometry of a gaze'. Once the team had sussed out the science behind a smile, they turned to Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, who tweaked the technology for use on Kinect.
"The work that we did was taking something that was essentially a demo and turning it into a product," explains Eric Lang, a general manager at the Startup Business Group. According to Lang, it took "a huge amount of work" to integrate the complex algorithms for analyzing facial expressions into Kinect's existing database.
And Microsoft is pretty chuffed with their efforts, successfully translating one team's work into the hands of another without a hitch. "It was personally very gratifying to see the teams come together and find creative solutions," reveals Pete Thompson, general manager of Xbox LIVE. "The end result is a highly-curated consumer service that is very compelling, but also has tremendous headroom for future innovation from Microsoft and its partners".
As it stands, no media or further details exist on Avatar Kinect. Although with the E3 Expo just around the corner - we can't wait - I expect Microsoft will include the new feature in their talk. [Electronic Theater]