Hands up, down, and around with Kinect for Xbox One

The original Kinect always felt like a beta. It was the first implementation of something we collectively imagined should be much better. Our vision of Kinect had it be more precise, less laggy, and more natural to use. And that's precisely what Kinect for Xbox One is.

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The original Kinect always felt like a beta. It was the first implementation of something we collectively imagined should be much better. Our vision of Kinect had it be more precise, less laggy, and more natural to use. And that's precisely what Kinect for Xbox One is.

Following its Xbox One reveal event, Microsoft invited us to get "hands on" time with a few tech demos--the ones that you can see here. Because none of these demos represent actual gameplay, it's difficult to gauge how well this tech can be implemented. However, the potential is very real--and our excitement for Kinect has been rekindled.

A series of demos showcased not only skeletal tracking, but the force of your muscles as well. We had ample room to test the device multiple lighting conditions--even in total darkness, with a flashlight. We got to see how close--and how far--we could get to the camera. We jumped up, kicked, did squats, twisted our arms, played air piano, sat down, and Kinect never missed a beat.

At least in this test environment, running non-game software, the new Kinect works exactly as I hoped it would. However, the single demo that convinced me the most was Kinect's ability to supposedly track your heart rate. I stared into the camera sternly, and then went on to do jumping jacks and run in place (in front of an audience, mind you). I saw a meter quickly rise, and slowly fall after I had stopped my physical activity. I laughed when I saw the feedback--and of course, Kinect recognized that too.

The new Kinect promises to make using Xbox One far easier than ever. Thanks to its wide-angle lens, more living rooms will be compatible with the sensor. And because you can use it from as close as a meter, even more cramped spaces will be compatible. In fact, you won't even need to bother with those silly calibration cards that shipped with every original Kinect unit.

Like PS4, Xbox One will also be able to keep track of who's using which controller. Thanks to IR emitters built into the Xbox One controller, Kinect will be able to see who's playing with which controller. Should you swap places (or swap controllers), the system will know--allowing developers to automatically swap screens in a split-screen game, for example.

Kinect comes bundled with every Xbox One, and you cannot use the system without Kinect plugged in. (Thankfully, that means you won't need a separate AC adapter for the camera this time around.) While some hardcore gamers may scoff at having Kinect constantly staring at them, it's undeniable that the tech is impressive. Now, the question is: can Microsoft showcase games that deliver on the incredible potential of this new device?

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  • reply
    May 22, 2013 8:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Hands up, down, and around with Kinect for Xbox One.

    The original Kinect always felt like a beta. It was the first implementation of something we collectively imagined should be much better. Our vision of Kinect had it be more precise, less laggy, and more natural to use. And that's precisely what Kinect for Xbox One is.

    • reply
      May 22, 2013 8:33 AM

      Both Kinect and the new controller look impressive... the problem is that the One itself doesn't look very impressive. I was hoping to be excited yesterday. I guess I'll wait a few more weeks and see if they were just holding back all the good stuff.

      • reply
        May 22, 2013 8:38 AM

        after all the things that came out yesterday about the Xbox One, I'll for sure be going PS4 this generation and not looking back.

    • reply
      May 22, 2013 9:07 AM

      I wonder what happens if you turn the Kinect towards a wall, place it inside of your entertainment center, or put a box over it for privacy. Does the system freak out and demand that you set the sensor up properly? I have no use for the voice commands or hands free controls and am a little freaked out by the sensor always watching me.

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        May 22, 2013 9:08 AM

        jeez get a grip. why would it be watching you?

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          May 22, 2013 9:23 AM

          I'm not a tinfoil hat guy, but the camera is always watching you for gestures. Smart TVs have been hacked to turn on and view their integrated webcams remotely, so it's not that big of a stretch to have some concerns about a product that requires it's camera to always be on. With that said, I don't really care, but I can kind of understand people who get creeped out by it.

          • reply
            May 22, 2013 9:33 AM

            "Smart TVs have been hacked to turn on and view their integrated webcams remotely, so it's not that big of a stretch to have some concerns about a product that requires it's camera to always be on. "

            yet no one can even come up with a single suggestion as to what purpose that would serve

      • reply
        October 3, 2013 4:01 PM

        I would guess no, its fine!
        And when you want to use it, move it

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