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An Update on Microsoft's Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera Technology
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An Update on Microsoft's Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera Technology


August 18, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6
 

Building on its face tracking technology, GestureTek has also developed a solution for tracking individual, non-facial objects on-screen, such as handheld peripherals. This is done in a remarkably simple manner. The tracker looks at an object's color and shape, and is able capture and track it in a number of ways.

Objects can be moved around rapidly, such as in the face tracker technology. They can be rotated and moved with relative ease. They can also, by way of tracking an objects size, be detected spatially: that is, theoretically, a peripheral's distance from the screen can be tracked in real-time, which is more than mildly reminiscent of Nintendo's Wii controller.

The first demo shown looks a bit like the GestureTek-developed Wizard's Cavern. A peripheral - in this case, a foam "magic wand" with a bright blue bulb at the end- is used to trace lines and patterns on-screen. The program recognizes the accuracy of the pattern, and the "sparkles" that emanate on screen sense speed, so that a slow movement can cause a thicker line.

The most impressive of GestureTek's technology was its early work at depth perception. As seen here, an object - in this case, a foam sword with brightly colored features - is tracked in real time, spatially. The tracking boxes shrink as the object is moved away from the screen, and grow as it comes closer.

It might be tempting to perceive this technology as a threat to Nintendo's Wii controller, but it should be noted that GestureTek itself isn't banking on this, considering its limitations.

"It's just a demo," shrugged GestureTek CTO Francis MacDougall when pressed, admitting that he doesn't see brightly-colored peripherals being popular among publishers.

The Xbox 360 Live Vision camera ships September 19 in the United States, along with TotemBall, the first and thus far only game announced with gestural controls. The accessory is compatible with Microsoft Game Studios' already-shipped Uno as a video conference mechanism, and according to Jeff Stone, "seven or so casual games" will be shipping this fall with video chat options. Confirmed titles using DigiMask's face mapping technology include Activision's World Series of Poker and UbiSoft's Rainbow Six Vegas. Development kits are available from Microsoft as of July.


Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

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