5 Cool Things Kinect

Published on November 4th, 2010

launches today in the US and next week over here. I’ve had the sensor for just over a day now, and will be producing a comprehensive round-up for the next 360Zine out later this month.

For now though, here are 5 cool things you might not know about the sensor and its software. And in the pursuit of all things fair, there’ll be a 5 things that suck about Kinect coming tomorrow.

1. Touching the corners in Kinect Hub is awesome

When you move your hand over the squares in the Kinect Hub, you can touch each corner and the little square moves. It’s the kind of tactile feedback that has made Apple’s touch software so welcoming. Ultimately pointless, but kinda cool.

2. It recognises faces

OK, we already knew this. But having your Kinect recognise your partner’s face when he or she walks into the room and signing in their profile too? Well that’s just brilliant. Scary, but brilliant.

3. It’s SERIOUSLY hard work

Think Move and Wii are a workout? Think again. There’s no hiding when you’re playing Kinect – you need to be constantly on the move, even when you’re playing a more sedate game like Kinectimals. Playing Kinect Sports and Dance Central back to back is a genuinely worthwhile workout. Or extremely dangerous if you’re massively overweight. Someone will keel over playing this thing soon.

4. Shouting at your room is cool

Voice commands work really well, but using Kinect as a chat input device is excellent. Sending a voice message by just yelling insults into your room feels much more direct than whsipering them into a little headset.

5. It models your body even when it doesn’t need to.

Case in point: Kinect Sports Table Tennis. During a replay, I thought to myself ‘wow, that guy is animated really well, his arm is crossed in the perfect way for that shot’. Then I realised it was because my arm had been in the right place for that shot. THEN I realised that my avatar could be made to dance like a drunken football fan right then and there. THEN KINECT BECAME AWESOME.

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