I'm a big enough man to admit when I am wrong, and earlier this week, when I told you all that Microsoft's Kinect will understand sign language and be able to read lips, I was wrong... sort of. While a patent connected to Microsoft's device does specifically state that it can understand sign language, the retail device won't be able to. Here's the official statement from Microsoft:
"We are excited about the potential of Kinect and its potential to impact gaming and entertainment. Microsoft files lots of patent applications to protect our intellectual property, not all of which are brought to market right away. Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language."
According to unnamed sources, Microsoft hasn't included the technology because it would cost too much.
Kotaku's source says the original Kinect had a higher resolution, and could recognize fingers as well as limbs, but Microsoft decided to keep to a $150 price-point for the device, and thus the finished product won't be able to recognize fingers, and thus, sign-language.
All of this leaves open the possibility of some future, Super-Kinect that recognizes fingers, toes, reads thoughts and can tell you where to find a girlfriend. We shall see.