updated 10:00 am EST, Mon November 28, 2011
Kinect 2 rumor has it tracking facial expressions
A rumor Monday claimed to have details of the next-generation Kinect. The Xbox peripheral would overcome the inherent limits of the current system and could detect facial expressions, Eurogamer was told. It would be accurate enough to detect emotional expressions and even to read lips, possibly letting it tell who was speaking a command.
The system could also detect the person's direction and recognize the pitch and volume of a given person's voice.
It may be targeted at the next Xbox, the tip alleged. Since Microsoft is known to be limited by USB 2.0 to sampling 320x240 position information from the camera, the company was upgrading to a wider bandwidth system, presumably USB 3.0. It could improve on USB 2.0, but the need to leave bandwidth open for USB drives, gamepads, and other add-ons has limited what Microsoft could do.
Kinect's sequel can be "cabled straight through" to talk directly to the processor and RAM, they added.
When Microsoft releases the next Xbox, and therefore a Kinect sequel, isn't clear. Some have suggested it might show at E3 2012 to head off the Nintendo Wii U, even if the Xbox doesn't ship in 2012. More conservative rumors have the console only showing in 2013.
The sequel isn't confirmed, but it comes as the current Kinect is becoming a core part of Microsoft's computing strategy. At once limited to games, it's now being converted into Kinect for Windows, an interface specially tuned for PCs. Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 Dashboard update is already built to let gamers control the main OS without touching a gamepad.