A Sneak Peek at XBOX's Project Natal

04/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Ramon Nuez I help leaders maximize their influence.

Yesterday, I was invited to a private Project Natal sneak peek. The event was held at the beautiful EZ Studios in New York City. I met with a member of the Project Natal product team. She gave us a brief explanation of the Natal vision and gave us only a few technical details:

  • RBG camera
  • depth camera
  • Current games will not be compatible with Natal
  • "Project Natal" is a code name and will not be the final name of the product

  • [Work in progress] Use voice commands to control services i.e. music, videos, movies
  • [Work in progress] Facial recognition
  • [Work in progress] Use gesturing to navigate the XBOX menu structure
  • [Work in progress] Distinguishing between the primary player and a spectator
  • [Work in progress] Suppressing background noise

Once we were briefed -- we were given the opportunity to play a dodge ball (like) game. It was a great experience. There I was (without a controller) standing, kicking, swatting, jumping and working up a sweat. The responsiveness of the Natal system was incredible and very accurate. If I physically moved forward, back, swung faster or slower my dodge ball avatar responded in kind.

"Our advances in computer vision and audio-signal processing," Malvar notes, "have enabled the development of Project Natal, a new level of experience for Xbox, in which user gestures and voice take the place of the standard game controller.

-- Rico Malvar, managing director of Microsoft Research Redmond

Robert Bach, President of Entertainment & Devices Division, is very committed to the success of Project Natal. The Entertainment & Devices Division is leveraging social media in an effort to keep the XBOX community and media well-informed. If you want to be kept in the loop about Natal -- then follow the product news here: