While the biggest industry buzz at CES 2010 seems lasered in on 3D TVs, the show, which opens today, also serves to reveal much more about Project Natal. After over six months of speculation, Microsoft revealed yesterday that the motion-sensing device will hit store shelves this year.
In addition to yesterday's news, word has gotten out via Tech Radar that Project Natal will use at least a tenth of the Xbox 360's processing power to fuel its camera and voice-driven tech. According to the article, Natal lead developer Alex Kipman has been providing demos during CES and revealed a few choice details. Besides the information regarding Natal's resource usage -- one of the biggest struggles was balancing resource-hogging mo-cap with software that can run on existing hardware -- Kipman also mentioned that the team processed "terabytes" of data of people posing in various gameplay positions.
The Natal team fed the information into software running on a cluster of powerful computers. Eventually, the software evolved into a program that can recognize 31 different body parts moving at 30 frames per second. That's your detected body movements, not the game, by the way.
Quoth Kipman: "When we train this 'brain' we are telling it: this is the head, this is the shoulder. And we're doing that over millions of frames. When it sees a new image it can tell you the probability it's seeing a certain body part based on that historical information."
I'm excited that Natal has sophisticated means of reading our movements, although I can't help but to wonder how much existing games can be retrofitted for use with Natal. I have no metric for how much today's Xbox 360 games use the console's CPU resources, but it's making me wonder if my demo with Burnout Paradise will become an on-the-couch reality for millions, or if it'll just be the happy memories of an awesome tech demo.
Is that a concern for you, or are you more interested in what Microsoft has up its sleeve for Natal's launch?
Source: Tech Radar