Microsoft is expected to unveil its Avatar Kinect service within the next few weeks.
Microsoft research and strategy chief Craig Mundie held a health-care demonstration for Kinect last week. Mundie showed off a concept example of a support group for individuals with diabetes, meeting using Microsoft’s video conferencing technology. Mundie also revealed that Avatar Kinect, Microsoft’s video-conferencing feature of the Xbox 360, is due to launch within a few weeks.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer originally introduced Avatar Kinect using his own Xbox LIVE avatar at CES earlier this year. Avatar Kinect is a unique way for Kinect users to interact with each other. Kinect supports facial tracking and even facial expressions that will allow users to talk to each other with their avatars. Microsoft is calling Avatar Kinect a “social experience” that will bring your avatar to life.
Microsoft launched Kinect Fun Labs earlier this month. The new service is a permanent addition to the Kinect hub. Fun labs allows Kinect owners to download gadgets to play around with Kinect. Microsoft has released several free gadgets and is expected to make Avatar Kinect available as a free gadget in July. The software giant is providing over 15 different stages for users to pick from and use Avatar Kinect. The stages range from kids themed stages to performance and broadcast stages. Avatar Kinect tracks users mouths and eyebrows to animate their avatars live on the screen. Avatar Kinect will allow users to join sessions and chat with each other to create shows that can later be uploaded and shared with others.