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Patent Shows Kinect Understanding Sign Language

Kinect can also read lips and recognize individual toes, or so the patent suggests.
By Kris Pigna, 08/07/2010



If the features spelled out in the recently published Microsoft patent for Kinect are accurate (via Next-Gen), the motion-control device is capable of even more than Microsoft has so far revealed. As the patent shows, Kinect can supposedly recognize American Sign Language (ASL), as well as read lips and even single out individual fingers and toes on a person's body. Of course, the other possibility is that Microsoft isn't holding anything back, and the patent merely shows features that were once (or still are) planned but that Kinect isn't actually capable of doing yet. Still, the patent shows an intriguing new area Kinect could be useful for, helping hearing impaired players interact with their games.

"Where the user is unable to speak, he may be prevented from joining in the voice chat," the patent reads. "Even though he would be able to type input, this may be a laborious and slow process to someone fluent in ASL. Under the present system, he could make ASL gestures to convey his thoughts, which would then be transmitted to the other users for auditory display."

Just what kind of communication would this allow? The usual elegance of online chatter, of course: "In this situation, for example, when the user kills another user's character, that victorious, though speechless, user would be able to tell the other user that he had been 'PWNED.'" Furthermore, the patent also suggests Kinect could even read lips in a sense, by parsing the "facial motions to determine the user's intended words and process them according to the context under which they were inputted to the system."

And yes, apparently Kinect can supposedly recognize such minute movements. The patent states that
Kinect's skeletal mapping system can even recognize "the bones and joints of the fingers or toes, or individual features of the face, such as the nose and eyes."

But again, Microsoft has never demonstrated or even confirmed these features with Kinect, so just because they show up in a patent doesn't necessarily mean they'll work when Kinect launches in November. They're certainly admirable and intriguing ideas, though, so hopefully this won't be the last we hear of them.

Source: 1up
 

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Elite Shackster
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I reckon these features would more likely becomes option updates for users who may want to take advantage of such features, and they will probably be more useful in the computer environment, but I agree its certainly interesting, and it distinguishes Kinect from the competition if this becomes reality.
 
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