Xbox One Kinect reading emotions and heart rate

By Alice O'Connor, May 21, 2013 2:00pm PDT

Ooh, what a fancy new sensor the Xbox One's Kinect has. With a 1080p camera and some nonsense about photons, it's more accurate and more reliable. And it knows when you're afraid. With the big reveal today, Microsoft has demonstrated using Kinect on Xbox One to detect users' heart rate and facial expressions.

Microsoft showed Wired these fancy features and more in a demo of the new sensor.

MS didn't go into details, but one imagines that it detect heartbeats with the technique of amplifying images to exaggerate changes in your skin tone as blood rushes around.

The demo's a little shaky, though. Kinect seemed confident the host's heartrate stayed at 60bpm throughout the entire demonstration, so it's either a little imprecise or a fantastic tool for detecting robots clad in synthflesh. Or not quite ready yet. Who could say?

It's a feature obviously useful in exercise software, but imagine the possibilities of games reacting to your emotional state, playing you like a puppet and watching you dance. Valve Software has been pretty interested in that sort of biometric data for some time too.

This could dovetail nicely with another Kinect feature demoed to Wired, detecting facial expressions. By scrutinising your face, software can detect what sort of face you're pulling--happy, neutral, and so on--as well as whether you're "engaged," if you're looking away, if your eyes or mouth are open, and so on. Again, this is a bit wonky right now, but fiendish developers could use it to pull some clever tricks.

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