CES 2011 – Microsoft Kinect implements 3D Avatar
No, it won’t take let you remote control a 10 foot tall genetically engineered alien, but it does signify the next level of interactivity. Best of all, you don’t need to worry about bad lighting, bad or no makeup, or bad hair. That’s been one of the biggest obstacles to video conferencing besides the heavy bandwidth issue.
The best aspect of this technology is that it is very low bandwidth because it’s only transmitting instructions on how to move your avatar along with audio which is low bandwidth to begin with. It’s a perfect example why broadband analysts shouldn’t automatically assume that Internet innovation must involve some kind of big bandwidth. It might involve big bandwidth, but most of the innovative services don’t. That doesn’t mean big bandwidth isn’t necessary because there are other applications that need it, but Kinect Avatar shows us other possibilities that will likely be relevant and popular.
The 3D graphics might be simplistic but that might be a limitation of the aging XBox 360. Put this on a high end gaming computer and we can see some really well rendered avatars along with better rendering of facial emotions. Perhaps your avatar head would be placed on in-game characters for first person shooter games or role playing games. The possibilities are endless.
Gizmodo has more coverage here.
Something just as cool and related was the true 3D models of live video captured by the Kinect.
Now if we can just merge the two technologies and simply render your actual face using the 3D model capturing feature of the Kinect onto those avatars, that would be even better. The back of the head would be filled in with a helmet since the camera can’t capture behind the subject.