Project Natal is the code name for a new technology developed by Microsoft to allow advanced gesture recognition, facial recognition, and voice recognition. It is the base for a "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for the Xbox 360 video game platform. It enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller through a natural user interface using gestures, spoken commands, or presented objects and images.
Johnny Lee, well known for his amazing Wii remote hacks (also featured on this blog), now joined Microsoft to work on Project Natal. "The 3D sensor itself is a pretty incredible piece of equipment providing detailed 3D information about the environment similar to very expensive laser range finding systems but at a tiny fraction of the cost.", he explains on his blog.
He goes on to explain that the 3D sensor and camera vision are well ahead of what computer vision is capable of. "The sophistication and performance of the algorithms rival or exceed anything that I’ve seen in academic research, never mind a consumer product," Lee writes.
“We would all love to one day have our own personal holodeck. This is a pretty measurable step in that direction.”, he goes on.
If you haven’t seen the vision video for Project Natal go check it out. It’s amazing!