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iFixit Tears Down Microsoft's Kinect For Xbox 360 280

alphadogg writes "Microsoft's new hands-free Kinect game controller is packed with four microphones, two autofocus cameras and a motion detector chip that together make for one heck of a complex toy, according to iFixit's initial teardown of the device. 'We haven't been this excited to get our hands on new hardware since the iPad,' says Kyle Wiens, CEO of the company. 'The way that we interact with computers is (finally) evolving, and Kinect is unlike any hardware we've ever taken apart. In fact, the only thing we've ever taken apart that has anywhere close to this many sensors is Pleo, the dinosaur robot.' iFixit describes Kinect as 'a horizontal bar of sensors connected to a small, motorized pivoting base.' The $150 device that Microsoft put hundreds of millions of dollars of research into can be purchased separately from the Xbox 360 or as part of a bundle. A Prime Sense PS1080-A2 is at the heart of Kinect's motion detection capabilities, as it connects to all of Kinect's sensors and processes images of your game room's color and scope before shooting them over to the Xbox. iFixit couldn't immediately identify all of the chips within the box, so plans to update its teardown."
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iFixit Tears Down Microsoft's Kinect For Xbox 360

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  • cost cutting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:53AM (#34133188)
    So MS can reduce the cost of the device in version 2 by dropping half the sensors?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:55AM (#34133202)

    Kinect is going to be hyped to hell and back by Microsoft's marketing department. Be prepared to puke from all the commercials plastered all over the place.

    Then watch it fail when used in real life by actual gamers.

  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:00AM (#34133230)
    Comparing the wii to the Kinect is absurd. One is an accelerometer, the other is a full-body skeletal pose estimator with probably 20 degrees of freedom. Like comparing a flashlight to an LCD display. The only question now is, will Kinect actually work?
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:20AM (#34133314)

    And yet the wii does work... without question...

    Well, it does "something" reliably (which might well beat a more ambitious but failed attempt). But compare Dance Dance Revolution style games on the two; with Kinect, you dance and it watches you dance and scores you; on the wii, you just tilt your hand in time with the music. Big difference.

  • by frnic ( 98517 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:20AM (#34133318)

    And the Wright brothers couldn't fly around the world in their first plane either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:33AM (#34133354)

    It would be one thing if Kinect was just some extra for the Xbox 360 but Microsoft has closed down almost all of their first party studios, piss off Bungie and let them leave, let other traditional Xbox focused PC developers go multi-platform. The release list for 2011 and beyond for the 360 is almost barren.

    It is mind boggling that they actually thought they were going to be able to abandon their current Xbox userbase and magically turn the Xbox 360 into a Wii type success. Or even something remotely close to the Wii in sales.

    I can't imagine what it must feel like to own an Xbox 360 and see Microsoft blowing 500 million trying to attract soccer moms. It's like some guy using his old girlfriend's car to take a new girl he met on a date.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:37AM (#34133364)

    Both and are currently sold out. I'd say that's pretty damn good.

  • Re:do not want (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:39AM (#34133386)

    Good, then go away. Meanwhile the rest of us sane people who aren't fighting a religious war over software companies will continue to enjoy our games.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:42AM (#34133392)

    If you say "as sucky as a Wii" you're already putting yourself into a category of people whose opinions do not reflect any sort of consensus.

    I guarantee the criticism won't go away until you stop randomly bringing up international politics in random discussions, making irrelevant comparisons, calling clear and verifiable statements of fact "a lie", and tossing around opinions you know are widely disagreed with (that the Wii sucks) as if they proved your point. I'm sure you're better at my language than I am at yours (unless maybe it's French, and then only maybe), but your stuff is difficult to understand.

  • Poor engineers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 ( 1453005 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:49AM (#34133418)

    I'd hate to have been an engineer working on this thing. Putting all your heart and soul into the R&D trying to make something novel, interesting and cutting-edge, and all you get in response is hate.

    Not that I'm defending the product or Microsoft. Theory is nice but if the physical product sucks then it sucks, but it's kinda obvious why companies are afraid to try something different.

  • by kiddygrinder ( 605598 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:54AM (#34133434)
    $2000 dollars is not enough by a long shot. someone might do it for free though.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:58AM (#34133450)

    There was a genuine production problem for the wii; whereas Microsoft has kinect supply chain figured out. Still, ubisoft is predicting shortages this season -

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:00AM (#34133458)

    But just like with the iPad, we've got real innovation here that came out of a closed environment.

    I don't see any innovation here. Kinect and iPad are both just evolutionary steps. None of the concepts of these devices are in any form new. To have companies with infinite resources make products out of ideas and concepts that have been researched and prototyped for decades by public institutions as well as the private sector is not innovation.

  • Re:Poor engineers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cylix ( 55374 ) * on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:07AM (#34133480) Homepage Journal

    You don't have to defend or defame the product until you have tried it.

    I'm waiting for a billion reviews to see if it's something worth acquiring. My main problem with the kinect is the use videos are all microsoft released and they have a lousy track record for being honest about their products. Point in case was the virtual friend for xbox 360/kinect demo. Completely scripted and a total wash, but it was later defended as a "what if" video and not a technology demo.

    While they never solicited public feedback on the unit before shipping I do hope they did some earnest research. Then again you can of course make a good deal of money in this country if you rely solely on advertising.

    In the end we just have to wait for user reviews from our peers or take the plunge ourselves if you feel like being a risk taker. However, what I will not do is praise a product on it's technological merits alone. That might get it some street cred or geek respect, but I'm not going to give someone money because they tried really hard. It has to have value for me (and a lot of other people) to be successful.

  • Re:Poor engineers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:17AM (#34133508) Homepage
    Think of this product as something similar to the DARPA autonomous-vehicle race series: the first one was a total failure, and the second one produced spectacular results.

    They can continuously improve the firmware to make it quite a usable product. This stuff takes many iterations, and the more units out there, the more feedback you get.
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:19AM (#34133510) Journal
    Wow, sweet spot is 7 feet? I somehow doubt it's going to do well in the Japanese market ;).
  • 3d webcam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:20AM (#34133520) Homepage Journal

    If Microsoft whips out the ability to use this as a 3D webcam with my PC, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Screw the 360, I want this for my computer.

  • by triffid_98 ( 899609 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @04:10AM (#34133634)
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that HD-DVD wasn't Microsoft's invention and the BluRay/HD war was in full swing when they designed their console. It's just that their format lost and Sony's won.

    This is no different in principal than the PS3 motion controls. They're both trying to capitalize on the light-gun/motion controller market since that is extinct since the CRT/owned by the Wii.

    I am by no means a fanboy of any console, but Microsoft is at least trying to do something much cooler than the 6-axis. I for one would love to see a modern console with proper motion controls (sorry Wii, but you're essentially a Gamecube with a reworked power-glove. Control is great, but CPU/Video performance-wise it isn't even comparable)

    Both consoles lack compelling titles since they are expensive add-ons that people won't necessarily buy. It's like the Sega 32x all over again. Addons create console fragmentation and developers won't cater to it since they won't be guaranteed sufficient customers to make a profit.
  • Re:cost cutting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jrobot ( 1239050 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @04:13AM (#34133650)


    Microsoft can sell these at a loss and make it back with game sales.
    kinect version 2 will likely include MORE sensors what with M$ buying Canesta []
    who build time-of-flight optical depth sensors...

    anyone have specs on microsoft's IR CMOS sensor in this thing?
    TFA lists X853750001 / VCA379C7130

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @04:42AM (#34133714)

    Yeah the guy is a troll, look at his post history. He made a similarly stupid post last time Kinect was discussed. Criticism of Kinect is fair enough but some of the points he made don't even make sense- complaints about lighting etc. when it works using IR. Still he gets modded up because he's slagging off Microsoft and that gives your average Slashdotter a hardon no matter how factually incorrect it is.

    That's not to say all his points are invalid, the distance thing is a bit of a pain certainly (although the Wii and Move struggle at very short distances too) but for the most part he's just trolling.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @04:57AM (#34133770)

    What a bizarre attitude. Who is sitting around with the fantastic ideas waiting for the right time to walk into a market and screw the actual innovators? Who could actually do that without worrying they were going to have their lunch cut by the actual innovators walking into that market a few minutes earlier with perhaps some new innovations you never even heard of what with being a total parasite and all? Seriously you believe that is whats happening?
    Or are the vast resources of those you implicitly deride actually working towards and producing the innovations you speak of and, god forbid, profiting from the investment?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @05:01AM (#34133780)
    Well I wouldn't say I'm a member of their die-hard fanbase, but I have owned both iterations of their consoles and it's been a largely positive experience for me (in fact, I've owned three of this generation - upgraded one and then bought a spare for the bedroom). I can say Kinect is not even on my radar, to the extent I'm now avoiding games that claim to have kinect functionality built in because I suspect that will negatively impact the non-Kinect experience. I would go so far as to say this might actually drive a lot of their hardcore fans away from the consoles, if it wasn't for the fact that all console manufacturers seem to be doing the same crap right now.
  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @05:46AM (#34133902)

    I also wonder if they've even thought about the logistics. In all the adverts people are using it in massive open plan living spaces, that's just not a realistic representation of most people's homes (especially in countries where housing prices are high and living space has to be maximised, the UK, Japan, other parts of Europe, I can't speak for typical US homes as I only see fictional representations of them on TV and they're all either huge empty white spaces or cluttered messes). Personally the only way I could make this work is to throw away my coffee table - the Wii balance board just about works because the sensor can look over the table at the control and doesn't need to know what I'm doing with my legs, but the Kinect seems to need a massive open space just to get a decent field of view. I think people are going to either be put off by that (if they bother to think about it) or else they'll buy this, realise it's not practical and leave it in the box after the novelty wears off.

    Beyond simple games for kids and stuff like video chat, I can't see a practical use for this, and if that's all you're using it for MS could have done it with a £15 webcam instead of a £150 sensor array. That doesn't mean it won't sell by the bucket-load, of course - I couldn't and still can't see a real use for the balance board but it didn't stop it selling millions and me spending the best part of a month hunting one down for my girlfriend the year after it was released.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @06:11AM (#34133956)
    No, but it's the only language on an English language forum. For the same reason, I don't post to French or German forums and then get upset when they have difficulty understanding me. Likewise, as a guy, I don't use the female bathrooms in restaurants and when they complain, use as my excuse "male is not the only gender on the planet". The correct response, if someone questions your use of a non-native language, is to try and rephrase in a way that better conveys your meaning, not to start flaming everyone.
  • by cptdondo ( 59460 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @07:40AM (#34134252) Journal

    I just don't see it living up to that promise. I watch my kids play wii - at first, they were jumping all over the place. Now they lay on the sofa, and "play tennis" by simply waving the controller a few inches.

    Until the kinect is smart enough to figure out that *this* finger flick means hit the ball, and *this* finger flick means "shoo fly" and *this* motion means change the menu and *this* motion means I'm reaching for the chips, all while laying on the sofa and moving about 12" at most, it ain't gonna work.

    My kids use games to kick back and do nothing; they don't use them as some sort of false athleticism. All the kinect hoo rah has been about how you will jump around your living room; at least in my house when we want to do something we go out and do it. When we want to lay on the sofa and veg, that's what we do. Where does the kinect fit in?

    I think this will find uses MS never expected if it stays on the market long enough; pet monitors, some researcher will start using this to measure erosion in a channel, or something - but as a game controller I see a minimal market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @07:52AM (#34134294)

    And yet the wii does work... without question...

    Well, it does "something" reliably (which might well beat a more ambitious but failed attempt). But compare Dance Dance Revolution style games on the two; with Kinect, you dance and it watches you dance and scores you; on the wii, you just tilt your hand in time with the music. Big difference.

    The amazing thing is that Just Dance on the Wii was a suprise 3rd party succes selling 2 million worldwide ( despite low reviewscores. So even with the low tech measuring tilt scoring mechanism they managed to make a good selling profitable game.

    Now we can make a Kinect Dance Dance Revolution game for X-Box that has more accurate scoring but wil it realy matter. Its a game not a dance tutoring game. The main object of the game is to make you do stupid moves in front of your friends. On the Wii Just Dance manages to do that with just the basic hardware and a game. On the X-box you need a $ 150 add-on and a game. I'm sure that part of the succes of Just Dance is low price an no extra addon required.

    Sure the X-box games is techincaly superior but when you look at the intended market that won't matter a thing....

  • Then watch it fail when used in real life by actual gamers.

    No "actual gamer" is going to buy this device. Most that might have been inclined have probably already been burned by the Playstation Eye(Toy). The Kinect has already been and will be lambasted by the traditional gaming community.

    But as the Wii proved, "actual gamers" don't actually matter. This device is being marketed to just about everyone else, and will likely sell as to parents and the like as a supposed mini-console to a younger gamer. At least for this Christmas; I fully expect shops to be flooded with second hand Kinects come February.

  • by sheehaje ( 240093 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @08:29AM (#34134484)

    I'm one of those that wouldn't mind moving my coffee table to play. After all, I've spent thousands over the years keeping my gaming rig up to date, what is moving some furniture.

    The big problems I see is input lag and the processing being done on the Xbox. That leaves less processing for the actual game itself, and the lag issue probably won't get much better until Microsoft releases new specs for the Xbox to handle the kinect.

    My other curiosity is can I still play certain titles while sitting on a chair?

    I will eventually get a unit. Hopefully a revision or two down the line. Microsoft aminosity aside, this is one of those big leap concepts that even if the initial device doesn't do what it should, it can still revolutionize a stagnant part of the industry. The mouse and keyboard/gamepad hasn't really changed much in years. This could change all that. Even the Wii motion technology is a bit primetive compared to something like this. It's fine for what it does, but doesn't cross over to computing very well. This does. Microsoft smartly put R&D money into this, because now they probably have a ton of patents on the next generation of periphreal.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:22AM (#34135614) Journal

    Ow man... you should go to Reddit instead.

    It is really boring to see how in slashdot the only comments and snarky questions you will see will be to criticize the technology.

  • by Varkias ( 631272 ) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:30AM (#34136574)

    Comparing the wii to the Kinect is absurd.

    No it's not absurd. They are competing for the same demographic, casual gamers. Rather than getting caught up in the full-body skeletal, 100,000 degrees of freedom sales talk the real question is: Is there a library of great games that make it worth paying $150? Right not IMO the answer is no. Getting caught up with the technical aspects of the Kinect (yes they are impressive) doesn't matter for most people. Historical examples prove that having the most powerful hardware doesn't matter: DS vs PSP, winner: DS, PS2 vs Xbox vs Gamecube, winner: PS2, on and on. It's been said before, powerful hardware doesn't sell systems, a library of great games sell systems.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.