Microsoft announces new Kinect Hardware for Windows in early 2012

November 23, 2011

Since the announcement of Kinect for Windows at the start of November, many have asked if there will be PC-specific Kinect hardware coming. Microsoft confirmed today that there will indeed be a new Kinect device for Windows PCs.

Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.  Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters.  “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360.

The full press release contains more details including the announcement of new support and mentoring programs for Kinect development.

Expect the new hardware in early 2012.


L.A. Noire: “The Technology Behind Performance”

December 17, 2010

Check out this fascinating look at how Aussie game-devs Team Bondi (motion) captured the emotion behind the actors’ performance for their upcoming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game L.A. Noire.

What they’ve done is years ahead of the competition as far as capturing the nuances of an actor’s performance goes.

L.A. Noire is set to be out mid-2011 from Rockstar Games.

Hacking the Xbox Kinect

November 29, 2010

I have to start this post with a whinge, I pre-ordered Xbox Kinect from JBHifi. When I pre-order something I do expect it to get to me on the day it gets released or at least the day after. We finally got our Kinect here at the office after it was already released for over a week. I could have just walked  down the street and picked on up.


but that is not what I want to talk about here. It is all setup in our reception area and we already had a lot of people trying it out and loving it.

There are some very smart people out there and it only took 3 hours before the Kinect was hacked and an open source driver was created so you can use it on your PC, a little later on your Linux box and then on your Mac.

and what are people doing with it? They are creating some awesome things. Here is a small collection of the things I came across:

Best interactive Puppet

Have your own lightsaber

Capture yourself in 3D

same guy in 3D with a little awesome surprise at 0:53 – watch it it’s worth it

use Kinect to control Windows 7

there are heaps more videos after the break

Read the rest of this entry »

The next gesture based (multi-touch) system is already out and cost $194

November 12, 2010

Xbox Kinect is hitting the market and I pre-ordered the one for the office yesterday. And then I saw this today – someone hacked it for the greater good to bring us gesture based multitouch using Kinect and sitting on the couch.

Full body tracking Microsoft Surface Style – Simply awesome

check it out:



Alan Wake – The Project

May 12, 2010

Here’s a little something we worked on recently for Xbox Australia that was pretty fun. We kidnapped a bunch of Xbox gamers, stuck some probes on them and then left them alone in various locations at the Quarantine Station at Sydney’s North Head. Oh, yeah, they got to play Alan Wake before anyone else in the country.

Interesting to see how the body responds to intense situations in games. Alan Wake has its share of them too. I’ve had a go myself and I’m in no hurry to go wandering in the woods at night any time soon.

Check the site out at

There’s some more videos you can check out and a bunch of pics on Flickr.

Brain controlled pinball machine

March 10, 2010

Brain controlled pinball machine. NUI 2.0?


The new Xbox Mini

August 19, 2009

Don’t get too excited its actually not new.

I came across this 6 month DIY project where a guy, who calls himself ghostavel, spend all his time taking the old Xbox and creating his own mini case for it.

And I have to say it looks awesome.

23.5 x 21.65 x 2.5 cm




I reckon the next gen Xbox should have a form factor like that.

Xbox 360 Project Natal – Body sensing controller. Potential Wii beater?

June 2, 2009

Having worked on the Xbox account for 5-6 years and being part of Microsoft you’d probably expect we knew all about this. Nope! They kept this one under tight wraps and surprised the lot of us today. Of course there have been rumours on the web, but the fact is we did not expect to get an announcement this exciting! Most expected a ‘me too’ Wii catchup controller – but instead we have something truly groundbreaking.

Project Natal

What is it? Best to watch the videos, but in summary the hardware is a new breed of sensor for the Xbox 360 that can recognise a persons body movement accurately within a 3D space, full facial recognition and voice – without a controller. The potential is amazing… just watch. We understand that all the footage shot are real demos. Nothing canned.

The Ad: When Microsoft figures out how to make a decent ad, the competition will be in trouble – it’s the only thing we didn’t like.

Meet Milo – the virtual boy. (below)

Painting Demo

The ‘Sensor’ that lives under your telly:

More juicy videos and gossip from the rather raw Xbox staff blog at

Microsoft Introduces New Xbox 360 Dashboard

July 18, 2008

For the games industry, it’s that time of year again. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the most significant showcase of upcoming games and games hardware each year. Despite being recently scaled down the event still plays host to important press conferences from the big three, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

Normally these press conferences are used to lay out roadmaps for each company’s platforms over the ensuing 12 months. Platform refreshes are normally tied to the introduction of new hardware (the announcement of new consoles or the introduction of slim models). For the first time in this ‘next generation’, fundamentally changing the platform experience can be driven by software alone.

Apple are proving this with the iPhone and iPod touch platforms (although poor old iPod touch users have to pay for the firmware upgrades.) Sony has proven this with numerous updates to its initially feature-barren XBM (cross media bar) PLAYSTATION 3 interface and continues to tease the PLAYSTATION Home platform (a fully 3D, Second Life-style world that will hopefully be released in Q4 2008). Even Nintendo’s underpowered but highly popular motion controlled Wii delivers occasional interface updates via the Web. 

A Full Tour Below…

Not prepared to be left behind, in the wake of PLAYSTATION Home’s imminent arrival and Nintendo’s Mii avatar system, Microsoft’s John Schappert took to the stage in LA this week to announce the revamped ‘Xbox Experience’, an all-new Xbox 360 user interface featuring 3D avatars, full Net Flix integration (at least, if you live in the US) and highly visual, streamlined community interaction. Gone are the days of the full-screen Blades and scrolling friend lists. The new Dashboard will be available to download in the coming months.

It’s an interesting challenge, melding function with impactful, highly visual design (all the while taking into consideration the resolutions and aspect ratios that players may be using – 4:3, 16:9, 480i all the way up to 1080p…) Hesitatingly I’d say it looks like Microsoft has pulled it off. Ever-so-subtly, this new UI takes inspiration from Sony’s XBM and allows users to navigate core options via the up and down controls with secondary options controlled via movements to the left and right (this principle is applied in the reverse on Sony’s console). It’s also interesting to note that all in-Dashboard advertising space has been eliminated (praise the Gods!), although certain content has fully themed backgrounds which still allows film studios and/or products on the Xbox Live Marketplace to push their branding straight into your living room.

Microsoft’s Official Spot

For the full minute 22 second promo spot shown at the conference, check out the video above. The revamped Dashboard will be available to download in Q4 this year.