Kinect patent detailed; American Sign Language supported

The patent for Microsoft's Kinect console has been unearthed, describing the "gesture keyboarding" system that's tracked by the special PrimeSense-developed depth camera.  Kinect builds a dynamic wireframe representation – or "skeletal mapping" – of the player's body, and then tracks that to recognize various gestures and movements; these can be as minimal as raising up on your toes.

Interestingly, the patent also confirms that Kinect will recognize American Sign Language (ASL), allowing those proficient to input letters, words or even full phrases by ASL gesture alone.  This certainly opens up possibilities of relatively inexpensive translation systems, tracking sign language and converting it into speech or text.

Incidentally, we love that Microsoft kicked off their patent illustrations with the picture below.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that this marks the start of a new range of moustache-twiddling games that reward facial-topiary dexterity rather than whether you can solve puzzles or kill bosses.

[via GoRumors]