Microsoft’s Avatar Kinect, unveiled at CES 2011 earlier this year, has landed in the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for download. A free app, Avatar Kinect allows you to control your Xbox avatar using the motion-sensing Kinect controller for Xbox 360, with facial expressions and movements all mimicked on-screen.
Those moving avatars can be used in 3D stages of Xbox 360 games to chat between friends online, as well as to “produce your own TV shows.” Whereas other apps have used general gestures tracked by Kinect to move on-screen players, Avatar Kinect goes as far as recognizing individual facial movements: the way your mouth moves during speech, frowning, smiling and other expressions.
There are also 15 virtual environments within which groups of up to eight avatars can collaborate. Microsoft has thrown in plenty of special effects, too, and if you “film” the scene it can be posted up to the Kinect Share site for others to view. Avatar Kinect is available now, as a reasonably hefty 660MB download.