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Microsoft’s Xbox 720 Kinect motion sensor specs leak

Kinect for Xbox 720

I expected the focus today to all be on Sony and the launch of the PlayStation 4 at 6pm EST. But Microsoft is stealing some of the attention away by allowing its next-generation Kinect sensor specs to leak.

It’s expected that the Xbox 720 (codenamed Durango) will ship with a second-generation Kinect motion sensor in the box. But how has Microsoft improved on the original?

According to the spec leak VGLeaks has been handed, the new sensor is all about higher precision motion tracking of a larger area. Kinect v2 will still be focused on the same depth range (0.8m to 4m), but has had its field of view (FOV) increased to 70 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. So it is capable of viewing a much larger area and now no longer needs the tilt function because of it.

In terms of what Kinect v2 can detect, Microsoft has improved things considerably with better color and depth streams. The color stream has increased to a resolution of 1920 x 1080 captured at 30fps, while the depth stream is 512 x 424. For comparison, the original Kinect had a 640 x 480 color stream and 320 x 240 depth stream. Overall this means the new sensor is capturing at a much higher resolution (better accuracy) and can detect objects that are up to 3x smaller. Microsoft has also added an Active Infrared stream to the device. It streams at 512 x 424 and 30fps, and will allow the Kinect to better cope with a much wider range of lighting conditions.

Kinect spec comparison

The latency of the sensor has been reduced significantly, with the new rating being 60ms compared to 90ms of the existing Kinect. Microsoft has also moved to using USB 3.0 rather than 2.0 in order to cope with the extra data being collected and passed to the console.

From the player’s point of view these revisions mean that Kinect v2 will be capable of tracking up to 6 people at once. It will also be able to better track skeletons, so open and closed hand states are recognized, more of your body’s movements and positions (sideways on to sensor, for example), and it can better handle standing and sitting players as well as big differences in player heights.

As for the Kinect unit itself, apparently we should expect a device that looks very similar to the original Kinect. It will still be separate from the console and connected via a cable, and the best place to position it will be above your TV if possible.