Leaked technical details of the next
generation Kinect motion sensor suggest it
will reduce latency by a third and support
up to six players.
The source of the leaked info is VGleaks, the same
site that previously leaked the technical
specifications of the next generation Xbox itself,
which have generally been accepted as accurate,
if slightly out of date.
That’s no guarantee that the following is true as
well, but the most important details have already
been rumoured beforehand – particularly the idea
that the new Kinect will be bundled with the
console as standard, and that it supports up to
six players.
Reducing latency by a third doesn’t sound like all
that much of an improvement to us, but it all
depends on exactly how the games work with it.
Although the fact (if it does turn out to be a fact)
that every Xbox 720 will come with Kinect implies
that Microsoft expects every game to use it in
some way, even if it’s just voice recognition.
The top line improvements over the original
Kinect sensor are reported as follows:
Improved field of view results in much larger play
RGB stream is higher quality and higher
Depth stream is much higher resolution and able
to resolve much smaller objects.
Higher depth stream accuracy enables separating
objects in close depth proximity.
Higher depth stream accuracy captures depth
curvature around edges better.
Active infrared (IR) stream permits lighting
independent processing and feature recognition.
End to end pipeline latency is improved by 33
There’s more in-depth technobabble at the link
but one of the most important improvements
seems to be the addition of a third camera which
can see infra-red and will allow Kinect 2.0 to work
better in low light.
The overall resolution of Kinect 2.0 has also been
improved from 640×480 pixels to 1080p. The
field of view has increased too, so that a tilt
sensor is no longer needed and there’ll be less
calibration overall.
But to our, admittedly non-technical, eyes the
improvements still seem relatively modest, with
latency of 60ms still certain to be very noticeable.
The leak also confirms that individual finger-
tracking will not be possible.
As with any hardware it’ll all come down to the
games but unless Kinect is significantly easier to
set-up (we still can’t use the original at home
without completely rearranging the furniture) and
much more precise it’s unlikely ever to be
embraced by core gamers.



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