Project Natal gets launch date

7 Jan 2010

Amongst talk of Bing, Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 6.5, the biggest news from Microsoft at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was Project Natal, its next-generation Xbox 360 add-on that incorporates face, voice, gesture and object recognition technology as means of interaction.

While talking about all of its technologies that incorporate natural user interface, including Surface and a new version of Microsoft Auto’s Ford SYNC, Robbie Bach, president of the entertainment and devices division, announced that the Project Natal Xbox add-on would go on sale in the holiday period of 2010 and would work with the existing Xbox 360 consoles.

“Natal is a next-generation experience that we’re actually delivering this generation. And they don’t even need to buy a new console,” says Aaron Greenberg, director of product management for Xbox 360.

Debuted at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in San Francisco in June 2009, Project Natal was the world’s first gaming device to combine an RGB camera, multi-array microphone and custom processor running proprietary software all in one device that tracks your full body movement in 3D while responding to commands and even picking up on changes in tone of voice.

“For me, when people talk about touch and voice technologies, or anything related to Natural User Interface, it all comes back to what’s most natural for the users,” said Bach.

“That’s why you’ll see a variety of user interfaces that are considered natural, because each one is tuned to the environment in which it operates.”

By Marie Boran