Kinect 2.0 Detailed

Much of the excitement surrounding the new Xbox can be directly attributed to the next-gen Kinect sensor. Building off what the original Kinect started this takes NUI (natural user interaction) to the next level. From natural speech recognition to more accurate facial recognition and more detailed body motion capture. Kinect has been improved so much it's almost unfair to compare with the original incarnation. In this article let's go over what we know.

All new Camera Tech

The new Kinect has a 1080p video sensor compared to the VGA sensor from before. A huge improvement which allows for more accurate facial recognition with much clearer photos and video! Such clear video will surely come in handy for the all new Skype integration. They've also upped the resolution on the depth sensor allowing for more detail to be discerned such as fingers and the orientation of your limbs. All-in-all the new Xbox is processing over 2Gbs of Kinect data per second! Microsoft has also replaced the existing "structured light" method used to read depth on the original Kinect for a "Time of Flight" method that is both faster and more accurate. This method measures the time it takes individual photons to rebound off an object or person for the utmost accuracy.

Complaints Addressed

The original Kinect while a revolutionary product wasn't without it's faults which aliennated some hardcore gamers. Microsoft has taken these concerns to heart and significantly improved the new Kinect to address them.

One such complaint was lag. The time between doing an action and actually seeing it on screen. The new Kinect with dedicated processing and USB 3.0 has latency of only 2 frames per second! That's and imperceptible 66 milliseconds! Most games with a controller have an average lag of 133ms with more sensitive games (first person shooters) having a response time of 67ms! That's a huge improvement! Also your actions will be updated in real-time at 30 frames per second! The same framerate as most games!

The other major complaint for Kinect was space requirements. The field of view for the new Kinect has been improved by 60%! Meaning the new sensor can see closer, wider and deeper than it ever could before. No longer should you have to rearrange the living room to play!


Microsoft didn't stop by just addressing the complaints. They also wanted to take the experience to the next level. The new Kinect can now track up to 6 people at once! It can also track each Xbox One controller due to the built-in infrared led. For example lift your controller and your character might raise his shield in-game. It will also switch the orientation of split screen games automatically according to player location.

Skeletal tracking has been much improved. Not only can it read more joints and the orientation of your limbs but also the force of your moves. Dashboard navigation will be significantly improved because now it can detect an open or closed hand. No longer will you have to 'hover' over an object to select it. A 'night mode' is built-in that can see players regardless of lighting conditions. And the new Kinect can tell your emotions (happy, sad, etc..) and even read your pulse!

Some other notable improvements are the microphone array. It can now more reliably cancel out background noise and players can use more natural speech to control it. No more guessing what commands the Xbox can understand. Just say what you want and the Xbox should do it!

Wrap Up

All of these improvements are nothing if Microsoft can't get the device into the hands of consumers but don't worry! The new Kinect will be bundled with every Xbox One this holiday. So we should expect ample 3rd Party support! With exclusive games already announced like Ryse from Crytek and more to come in the coming soon. Stay tuned for more Kinect announcements come E3 next week!

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