Microsoft aren’t just aiming for your games room with Project Natal, but your living room and even your office. That’s the latest from Bill Gates, who confirmed that both the Xbox and Windows teams have “latched onto” the motion-tracking camera system and each plan to develop applications that will range from gaming through controlling an HTPC, to increasing interaction in meetings.
“[Project Natal is] for media consumption as a whole, and even if they connect it up to Windows PCs for interacting in terms of meetings, and collaboration, and communication” Bill Gates,
In fact, based on ongoing price reductions, Gates envisages hardware based on Project Natal to be in “most office environments” at some point in the future. He held off from describing specific usage applications, but given Natal uses video recognition we’re assuming obvious areas of focus might include collaborative prototype interaction, augmented reality systems where users are identified while on video calls, and general controlling of PCs with gestures.
Natal uses an RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone and custom processor all in one compact bar, which can track gamers’ movements in 3D space as well as respond to verbal commands. Unlike the Wii, it requires no controller; Microsoft have not revealed when the device will see a commercial launch.