Project Natal – the first true innovation from Microsoft

I have been thinking about Project Natal over the weekend. I do not want to discredit some of the innovations Microsoft has created over the last two decades – but for the most part Microsoft has not been able to create innovations on its own (but rather mimicking or buying stuff from outside). There may be some advances like C# and .NET – but generally this is insider stuff – meaning nothing to a wider public.

Project Natal may be the first true innovation with an Microsoft stamp on it. Fifteen years ago I have seen programmers trying to recognize 2D movements of arms and legs from a video – with results that were respectable – but never a game changer. Too much CPU power was required back then to be relevant in the consumer market.

To include the 3rd dimension in the motion detection is such a game changer. Combined with voice and face recoginition, this takes away the controller out of the control: your full persona is represented in the system – not just your fingertip. This is radical – and it has been a dream for many many years.

Just look at this example from game designer Peter Molyneux from Lionhead:

The device is so complex that a developer will have to have access to an SDK that allows simplified communication with the sensory system of Natal. Frameworks could provide automatic recognition of gestures to programmers – even in combination (so I you wave your arm, that would call another function than waving your arm and saying “Bye!”).

The level of precision could increase with future revisions. It could be combined with classical controllers. Maybe one day even finger positions, fluctuations/timbre of the voice, body temperature or point of view will be detected as well. Simple “lite” versions specialized on facial parameters could replace webcams in laptops.

So I do not look at Natal as a game controller – I see it as a complete new interface generation coming up.

Hats off to Microsoft!

This entry was posted in Disruptive, Interface. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. billigzobel
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Project Natal is a promising technique. I were thrilled too when I first read about it in blogpost about the first public presentation at the E3 Expo.

    But to claim that this project is M$´s first true innovation is somewhat too much bias. You forgot that they have contributed a lot to our recently widly-used technologies on the web. Best example is AJAX. Of course they didn’t invented AJAX directly, but they introduced the technology where AJAX is based on: the XMLHttp-Request object.

    But this ‘invention’ of M$ wasn’t spread very liudly I admit. Because alternative browsers like Mozilla, Firefox or Opera implemented the XMLHttp-Request technique very fast.

One Trackback

  1. […] post:  Project Natal – the first true innovation from Microsoft at … Share and […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera