So Microsoft previewed their upcoming motion sensing system codenamed Project Natal at the E3 expo yesterday. Its supposed to work with the Xbox 360 and it allows for full body motion control by tracking 3D movement. It also recognizes voices, and is meant to fully immerses the players into the game. The promotional video by Microsoft makes the whole system look pretty awesome.
I think its an interesting concept and its sort of an extension from the Wii, minus the controller. However, I have my doubts about how well this thing is going to work in the real world. The technology being used (motion tracking, voice recognition) have all proven to be pretty iffy in real world use. The last thing you want is the system not detecting your move on a crucial point in the game. Also, the racing game in the video looks a bit awkward to play as you’re just holding your hands up in the air like you’re gripping a steering wheel. I would imagine that people’s hands would get tired pretty quickly.
Its good to see Microsoft innovating though, with the announcement of “Project Natal” hot on the heels of the launch of their new search engine “Bing“, which has some pretty positive reviews so far. I think they have been resting on their laurels for way too long, always having to play catch up to others like Google and Apple. Its a good thing if Microsoft can provide some form of competition against Google and Apple as this will force all the companies to keep innovating and pushing the boundaries of technology.
Speaking of Microsoft, I remember coming across, a while ago, another two very cool and potentially ground-breaking pieces of technology that they have been working on, called Seadragon and Photosynth. My jaw literally dropped as I watched the demo. Very cool stuff.