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Microsoft Games News

Microsoft Launches Avatar Kinect 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the intermediate-forms dept.
mikejuk writes "Is Avatar Kinect a world-changing innovation or is it just silly? The idea is simple enough. It uses Kinect to determine body position and facial expression and maps these in real-time onto an avatar displayed on the screen along with other similar avatars. The big question is: what is it good for? The simple answer is that you can hide behind your avatar. It is an opportunity for anyone who feels less than confident about their appearance to become a performer — Microsoft is running a stand-up-comedian-via-avatar competition, for example. The internet has long provided an anonymous platform where users can express themselves, and Avatar Kinect extends this to facial and body expressions. Perhaps this is how video phone calls finally catch on — I'll get my avatar to phone you."
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Microsoft Launches Avatar Kinect

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  • Few years yet I guess.
    • No but you'll be able to "chat roulette" with avatars jacking off.
      Isn't that something?

      It will be a few more years until Microsoft manages to make dating and marriage between avatars legal.
  • Real Avatars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @04:00AM (#36892094) Journal

    Finally, we can actually have the thing that we've been calling those stupid static (or worse, animated) pictures. A picture isn't an avatar. It's just a picture. An avatar is a full representation of the person hiding behind it, and with this software and the kinect (which is commercial, easy to acquire hardware for the geeks interested in this) we can finally have *real* avatars.

    I think this is incredibly cool and a substantial step towards fullbody digital interactions over the internet being available to the man on the (first world country) street.

    • Snowcrash is slowly coming true....

    • Now it's just missing realtime geometry and texture acquisition and mapping.
  • Isn't the whole appeal of games and virtual worlds that you are NOT yourself when you use them?

    If you want to do standup comedy while looking and acting exactly like yourself there's this other system for that. IIRC it's called "the real world".

    • by bloodhawk (813939)

      Isn't the whole appeal of games and virtual worlds that you are NOT yourself when you use them?

      If you want to do standup comedy while looking and acting exactly like yourself there's this other system for that. IIRC it's called "the real world".

      Wow I have heard of not reading the article, but you didn't even bother to read the crappy slashdot summary. The whole point is the avatar DOESN'T have to look exactly like you, it mimics your expressions and actions not your looks and features. It adds to the experience while still allowing people to hide themselves.

      • by vegiVamp (518171)

        > the avatar DOESN'T have to look exactly like you

        For now. Remember how Suckerberg wants you to use your real name? Google's Schmidt commented along the same lines, at some point. Iirc, Blizzard has a similar policy on the forums. Google+ would like you to use your "common" name - not exactly the same, but close enough.

        We're still safe, for now; but once it turns into an actual metaverse, how long will it be before the authorities think of the children, say well, if you've nothing to hide... and demand r

      • Isn't the whole appeal of games and virtual worlds that you are NOT yourself when you use them?

        If you want to do standup comedy while looking and acting exactly like yourself there's this other system for that. IIRC it's called "the real world".

        Wow I have heard of not reading the article, but you didn't even bother to read the crappy slashdot summary. The whole point is the avatar DOESN'T have to look exactly like you, it mimics your expressions and actions not your looks and features. It adds to the experience while still allowing people to hide themselves.

        How is that made clear in any way in the "crappy slashdot summary"? To quote:

        "It uses Kinect to determine body position and facial expression and maps these in real-time onto an avatar displayed on the screen along with other similar avatars."

        Sounds a lot like it's simply mapping your image onto a virtual version of you, not animating a completely different character using your position/expression.

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Wednesday July 27, 2011 @04:27AM (#36892184)

    Is Avatar Kinect a world-changing innovation or is it just silly?

    We've been asked this question before sometime around 2001. Back then it was Matrox and not Microsoft, and it was called HeadCasting [tomshardware.com]

    The answer... it was just plain silly. The G550 was a failure for everything except extreme multi-monitor work and HeadCasting was a completely ignored feature.

    I'm not sure about others, but for family and friends I'd rather see them when I talk to them, and for the rest of the people on my Steam "friends" list I'd prefer not even being able to hear them let alone see some stupid 3D image they hide behind.

    • by am 2k (217885)

      I'm not saying that I think that this will be different, but the perception of technology in the public has changed significantly since 2001 (back then, "ubiquitous computing" was a futuristic buzzword), so just because something didn't work in 2001 doesn't mean that it won't a decade later.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        Technology doesn't change acceptance of an idea, marketing does. To understand what I mean by this scroll down a page and read on the scientific interpretation of the "uncanny valley". It's not that it didn't work work back then its that the thought of talking to someone hearing them accurately seeing their face emote, and yet seeing a computer generated picture of someone or something else is discomforting to people. It falls into the realm of "We have video chat so what is the bloody point."

        I predict this

  • but this is a nice incremental step forward. When my avatar looks like one of the characters in Mass Effect (lip-syncing included) I'll be impressed. I suppose we'll need to wait for the next generation console and Kinect 2.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      After watching the Ghost Recon future soldier demo videos, it seems like the kinect is certainly CAPABLE of actually tracking minute motions (the guy opening and closing his hand to shoot). For example if you just open the calbration menu, you can barely make out your fingers if you open and close your hand unless you are extremely close, but if you boot up the UFC Trainer the little green tracking display in the corner has a much higher level of detail.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        After watching the Ghost Recon future soldier demo videos, it seems like the kinect is certainly CAPABLE of actually tracking minute motions (the guy opening and closing his hand to shoot). For example if you just open the calbration menu, you can barely make out your fingers if you open and close your hand unless you are extremely close, but if you boot up the UFC Trainer the little green tracking display in the corner has a much higher level of detail.

        Actually, the problem with Kinect is the Xbox360's USB

    • ... the airport.

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  • Hate to break this to everyone, but I don't spend much time looking at other people's avatars. If someone plays this at me, once the novelty wears off, I'll find something else to look at on the dual screen. Interesting question is how much video is actually people looking at themselves rather than looking at the person they are conversing with. Mirrors outsell sock puppets.
  • I thought it was a pretty good film about Avatars [wikipedia.org].
  • This would make me way more confident. - "Get to the chopper"
  • Though it isn't new and will be spouted as something Microsoft invented, I like it. I liked it when Matrox did it. I like it now. There is something inherently cool about a character behaving like me.

  • Anonymous porn, what else?

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