In the realm of hands-off control, the gaming world initially brought us the Wii from Nintendo which was able to work with wireless controllers. Now Microsoft has created a new component of the system that lets you control the game with just your voice and body. The way that games work has been completely changed by this new sight and sound sensor.
Previously Known as Project Natal
It was in June of 2009, just over a year ago, that Project Natal was announced. It was code-named after the main developer’s home of Natal. And then it was about a year later that another announcement was made explaining that the actual name of this new controller would be the Kinect. At the same time, Microsoft released the long anticipated new Xbox 360 console in a slim version. In addition to being smaller, the Xbox 360 Slim also has some upgraded features. The really great news was for the existing owners of the Xbox 360 when it was revealed that the Kinect was going to work with all models of the Xbox 360, no matter what year they were from.
Since this device will completely change the way games are played, Microsoft has appropriately indicated that this is a major upgrade. A console’s typical lifespan is about 5 years before a major change is made to the platform, but in this case because of the Kinect, the existing Xbox 360 is projected to be good until the year 2015 (marking the tenth anniversary of the Xbox 360)
What Specifically Is the Xbox 360 Kinect?
The Kinect for the Xbox 360 is a device that attaches to either your existing Xbox 360 or one of the new slim design ones. It’s a very simple looking device and smaller than you might think. It’s less than a foot long and only 1.5 inches tall. Of course, the base takes up some room too, but not much, as it’s only a 3.5 inch square that’s also 1.5 inches tall. It’s amazing how much power is in such a small package! It’s no wonder though since besides the software, it’s really just a camera and a microphone that pick up the players’ speech and movements.
How Exactly Do You Use the Kinect?
Each game has its own distinct movements that you learn, some of the more obvious ones are running in place, jumping, waving your arms in a specific way, bending down, and twisting. Not only does the voice and body movement recognition control games, but it also lets you give commands to the admin part of the Xbox 360, called the Dashboard.
As with any electronic device, there are options you can choose to configure it just to your liking, and with the Kinect attached, it lets you use voice commands and hand gestures to make the changes.