A new patent by Microsoft is giving us a glimpse of what they may have in store for Kinect 2.0 and the next Xbox.
It has to do with compound gesture-speech commands. Yeah, that is a mouth full. Basically the patent shows off a standard Xbox 360 working with a Kinect unit. It talks about an Xbox console’s CPU reserving power and having a mode where it can be used to play music and films without being entirely powered on.
Part of the very long patent reads:
A multimedia entertainment system combines both gestures and voice commands to provide an enhanced control scheme. A user’s body position or motion may be recognized as a gesture, and may be used to provide context to recognize user generated sounds, such as speech input. Likewise, speech input may be recognized as a voice command, and may be used to provide context to recognize a body position or motion as a gesture.
Weights may be assigned to the inputs to facilitate processing. When a gesture is recognized, a limited set of voice commands associated with the recognized gesture are loaded for use. Further, additional sets of voice commands may be structured in a hierarchical manner such that speaking a voice command from one set of voice commands leads to the system loading a next set of voice commands.
I’m not immediately sure what this patent seems to change about the current Kinect set up. Nothing strikes me as something the current Kinect device can’t do but it is full of a lot of technical language so I may be missing something.
The patent seems to indicate that the next version of Kinect will feature more accurate motion controls and pick up on more subtle body movements. It even mentions a processor communicating with the sensor. It isn’t clear if this refers to the console’s processors or if the Kinect sensor itself will have a new processor to get things done.
That said, the talk of a console having multiple modes which draw different amounts of power does hint at some features that may be present in the next Xbox console.
As I look more through this patent I will update this post with more details of exactly what it means.