Avatar Kinect expected to launch in the next few weeks

By Tom Warren, on 26th Jun 11 6:50 pm with 13 Comments

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bad.Trigger Bart Reding

    What is so great about this? I don’t see the gig.

    • HenningK

      That’s fine, it probably just means you’re not in the intended target group :)

  • Jinge

    To make interviews without any racial discrimination for example? :)
    To be able to send video-like stream with a very low bit-rate? 

  • Jinge

    I guess it is much easier to receive 15 avatar-stream than 15 video-stream! For a “big” virtual meeting, it might not be so bad!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000678662470 Vincent Haakmat

    I see endless applications for this. An Alcoholic Anonymous meeting for example can be hosted virtually, and everyone is truly anonymous. As is normal video conferencing. I don’t need to worry about what I have on or who walks pass me half naked behind the camera, since only my avatar is being projected. Like I said, endless possibilities

  • Anonymous

    Here I was hoping Microsoft actually killed it.

    • Anonymous


    • Anonymous

      To focus on something better. This is probably going to be the least used feature ever on Xbox Live. Can you honestly name a situation in which you or your friends would use it?

    • appie flappie

      MS is a big company and they have different teams working on different stuff. So stop bitching about focusing on something better.
      Btw, casual gamers and teenagers like to do stuff like this. There is always a public for this kind of stuff and you should stop making yourself as an important customer. Cause you are not!

  • GP007

    This will be the next big step in podcasting so to speak.  First we just had audio, then meh video podcasts next Avatar kinect podcasts etc.    Why not?

  • Renzo

    And when you’re done meeting, time for some games…

    or Netflix :D

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Waste of resources, better time could have been spent making the Kinect camera tracking better.

    • HenningK

      … and you don’t think they harvest that out from projects like this? If you read the article, it mentions lip tracking and eyebrow movement tracking. Those two things are currently not possible to do with the Kinect SDK without getting *really* fancy.