Microsoft outlines long-term Kinect plans

Microsoft's Kinect was born on the Xbox 360, but the company has ambitious plans for the future.

Senior adviser to the CEO Craig Mundie spoke at Microsoft's TechForum in Seattle this week, and said that eventually he'd like to put smaller versions of the Kinect in TVs and laptops.

The Verge reports that Mundie's goal is to miniaturize the device, making it "as cheap as possible and physically as small as possible." He alluded to making it so small it could fit inside a tablet, and said, "It's not going to happen tomorrow, but we can see a path towards that sort of thing."

Before it can be integrated into those technologies, though, Microsoft has a few hurdles to overcome. The Kinect can't work in daylight, for example, so taking a Kinect-enabled laptop outside would render the functionality useless. "There's a whole bunch of problems, not just miniaturization, in designing the sensors so they actually do what you expect them to do in all of the environments," Mundie said.

In the nearer future, we've heard reports that the next Xbox will require an always-on, improved Kinect device. The new Kinect is said to track up to six people at once, and five additional joints per person, and can also reportedly immediately identify users.