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Next-generation Kinect will reportedly read lips, rely on non-USB data transfers


Microsoft didn’t exactly score a home run with its Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360, but the motion-sensing camera still has plenty of untapped potential as it goes into its second year on the market. While rumors continue to swirl about a possible new console reveal for the Xbox maker at CES next year, some new, anonymously sourced information points instead to what we might expect from the next-generation take on the Kinect.

In addition to improved motion sensitivity and voice recognition, the so-called “Kinect 2” will also be able to do things like read lips and pick up on emotional states, an unnamed “development source” tells Eurogamer. The device will “track the pitch and volume of player voices and facial characteristics” to deduce how the player is feeling.

A big problem that the current Kinect faces is its USB data transfer connection. The technology is just too slow to keep up with the needs of the hardware, especially since it operates at roughly half of the USB’s transfer capacity since room needs to be left for other USB-connected peripherals. The next Xbox console — and it’s probably safe to assume at this point that the Kinect 2 will be exclusive to the next-gen MS platform — will be able to steam data from peripheral to CPU much more efficiently.

As Eurogamer’s source says, “[The Kinect 2] can be cabled straight through on any number of technologies that just take phenomenally high [resolution] data straight to the [console’s] main processor and straight to the main RAM and ask, what do you want to do with it?”

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