Microsoft’s future Kinect 2 device will reportedly lip read and measure emotions

Microsoft’s next-generation Kinect will feature lip reading support, according to reports.

The rumored support will allow developers to make use of an overhauled motion sensor and voice recognition unit. Euogamer reported on Monday that one development source indicates that the Kinect 2 will be powerful enough to lip read, detect when gamers are angry and even determine which direction they are facing. Kinect 2 is also expected to support the tracking of pitch and volume of player voices and facial characteristics to better measure their emotions.

The current Kinect unit has been updated several times to improve its camera tracking. Recently Microsoft launched its Avatar Kinect technology which allows the sensor to track mouth and eyebrow movements. There’s been a number of rumours suggesting the company is also working to build in finger tracking to the next-generation of Kinect. Eurogamer reports that the current version isn’t powerful due to its use of USB technology. Future versions will utilise a faster technology to provide more data to the Xbox.

Microsoft’s Xbox console allows Kinect users to control TV shows using their voice or by gestures. The software maker is currently on the verge of delivering a massive overhaul to its dashboard software to provide nearly 40 different live TV stations. Microsoft is also preparing to make new Kinect for Windows hardware available in early 2012. The optimized hardware includes components for PC scenarios. Microsoft is planning to shorten the USB cable to ensure reliability across a range of computers. The company will also include a small dongle to help ease coexistence with other USB devices. The new firmware updates for the Kinect will enable the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimetres in front of the device without losing any precision. Microsoft calls this “Near Mode” and the company hopes it will enable a whole new class of “up close” apps that have not been made available previously.

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