Print 15 comment(s) - last by Alexvrb.. on Feb 28 at 8:14 PM

Inspired by the success of Kinect, Microsoft engineers are cooking up high resolution avatars that will look and sound exactly like you.  (Source: USA Today)
Now everyone will get to see your ugly mug online

In an interview with USA Today, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie showed off one of the technologies he's been cooking up in his units skunk works operation.

It looks like you; its face contorts like yours into smiles, laughs, and grimaces.  It even talks like you.  The digital entity in question is what may become Microsoft's next generation avatar for its Xbox Live gaming network.  While the photo-realism may be a turn off for some people, it could offer some stunning personalized gameplay.

Mr. Mundie hopes to eventually expand the Avatar into a full body photorealistic representation that can be placed as an in-game model.

Reportedly the new floating-head avatar project was inspired by the increasing popularity and interest in the $149 Xbox Kinect, an accessory for the Xbox 360 that captures video and audio.  Using an array of microphones the device pinpoints sounds.  Similarly, using a high-quality RGB camera and a depth sensor the Kinect is able to spot user’s location and body position.

An inspired Microsoft is dreaming up all kinds of uses for Kinect and its next generation successor.  Microsoft researchers in Oxford, England, for example showed of a program that could use Kinect to create a 3D model of your home's interior, which you could offer free tours in.  The software also allows you to place 3D furniture models in your home to see how they would look.  That would be boon to interior decorators and homeowners alike.

In its current form Kinect offers plenty of perks -- voice commanded movie controls, auto voice/facial recognition Xbox Live network login, and of course a lot of gameplay.  With near term updates like interfacing with Windows Phone 7 handsets, coming later this year Kinect looks to stay a hot item throughout this year.

And with even more impressive technologies like photo-realistic avatars and home decorating applications on the horizon, Microsoft just may be catching a bit of the fire that propelled Nintendo's Wii to international success and fame in the seventh generation of console wars.

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kill people you hate in cod
By Murloc on 2/25/2011 12:09:32 PM , Rating: 1
now that would be neat.
There's a mw2 model that already looks like someone I know and despise :P

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By UNCjigga on 2/25/2011 12:24:24 PM , Rating: 5
Whoa, you know someone that looks like a MechWarrior?


RE: kill people you hate in cod
By kake on 2/25/2011 12:42:59 PM , Rating: 5
And he's got a fish big enough to kill people in!

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By morphologia on 2/25/2011 4:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
Can I make all the enemy troops look like Stephen Fry?

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By Aloonatic on 2/27/2011 3:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
You need to make their heads that big in order to get easy head shots?

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By MattCoz on 2/26/2011 2:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when Perfect Dark was going to have this feature, mapping photos onto the characters in the game. Unfortunately Nintendo decided that there might be a bit too much backlash and pulled it, although they claimed it was a technical issue.

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By Aloonatic on 2/27/2011 3:13:46 AM , Rating: 3
I'd probably never play a game like CoD again. At least I could pretend that I was being beaten by other adults, by there would be no escaping the fact that 12 year olds who should not even be allowed to play the game (with age ratings that parents concerned about video game violence seem happy to ignore) are so much better than me, as their pre-pubescent faces smile at me as I die in a slow motion replay.

RE: kill people you hate in cod
By Alexvrb on 2/28/2011 8:14:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but on the other hand you could use your ugly mug to terrify and intimidate the little bastards! They'll be too emotionally scarred to return fire...

Just kidding, bro. That's my job!

Body composition
By CColtManM on 2/25/2011 12:01:32 PM , Rating: 3
I expected Kinect to capture my body size and shape and create my avatar to fit. I'm sure it is possible, but because it would show too many people as "fatter" than they want to be represented it was cut.

RE: Body composition
By WalksTheWalk on 2/25/2011 12:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
Once this is implemented, you will also be able to buy a full body avatar built from hot celebrities.

Billy: I wanna look just like Mel Gibson when I play Super GTA V.
Mom: Hmm...OK but I'm not sure about some of those games you're always playing.

RE: Body composition
By Jeffk464 on 2/25/2011 1:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
Na, I would want it to look like me. Maybe shed 10 years and 10 lbs.

RE: Body composition
By cjohnson2136 on 2/25/2011 2:53:22 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, I mean its kinda like a Mii but with a better resemblance

That will never happen.
By RedemptionAD on 2/25/2011 8:17:57 PM , Rating: 1
One word for why it will never be completely real people modeling: Stalkers.

RE: That will never happen.
By geekman1024 on 2/25/2011 10:47:34 PM , Rating: 4
Relax, all the stalkers are busy shooting Monolith soldiers.

RE: That will never happen.
By delphinus100 on 2/25/2011 11:05:45 PM , Rating: 3
There might not be 'authorized' ones, but it's already easy to use someone's face in CGI with only a few good pictures of them:

(Yeah, Angelina seems to be a favorite)

And coupled with driving it in real-time with your (or anyone's) real face:

...I see a nice little cottage industry in the offing. (And I'm reminded of a Star Trek DS9 episode where [for a serious price] Quark was trying to secretly get good imagery of Major Kira for someone who wanted to base a [ahem] 'personal' holodeck character on her...)

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