Avatar Kinect revealed, brings gesture to 360 chat

Thursday, 6th January 2011 03:58 GMT By Brenna Hillier


Microsoft has unveiled Avatar Kinect at its CES 2011 keynote presentation. The social suite uses the peripheral’s motion sensing capabilities to translate the user’s gestures and facial expressions into Avatar animations for multi-user chats.

The new application drops players’ Avatars into a variety of differently-themed environments, where they can engage in “face-to-face” chat through their virtual personas. Seated in a circle, the avatars act out players’ physical movements and expressions.

Somewhat like text-to-animation service Xtranormal, users can record their sessions to create webisodes or vodcasts, which can then be shared on the web.

Existing social services like those packaged with ESPN will be able to utilise the application’s features.

Free to all gold-level Xbox LIVE subscribers, Avatar Kinect launches in Spring.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, introduced the software in his avatar form, showing off the Kinect’s ability to recognise gestures as small as waggling eyebrows.

Further, taped demonstrations showed Kinect Avatar animating hand and arm gestures, and translating facial expressions into emotes. There were no “bam! there it is” moments.

The existence of Avatar Kinect was leaked on Tuesday.

There a video of the Avatar Kinect part of the MS keynote below (thanks, Prof.Dr.Moertel):



  1. Erthazus

    They’re not making games anymore…they’re making magic. (c)

    #1 4 years ago
  2. mortiferus

    Goddamn Ballmer, I want to give people the finger! I demand finger recognition!

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    Here´s a video:

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    I’ve added in that video. Thanks.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. mojo

    sounds a bit like the also boring home?

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Gekidami

    Whats the point of this? I dont get it, MS should be working on games, not tech demos.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Blerk

    showing off the Kinect’s ability to recognise gestures as small as waggling eyebrows.

    Roger Moore will be pleased.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. The_Red

    So, how about a normal video multi-chat? I’m pretty sure seeing faces of actual human beings is more immersive.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Aimless

    I can’t help but notice the gulf between the quality of the virtual Ballmer at the start of that video and the Avatar footage of people actually using the software.

    Anyway, I’m sure this will be useful for at least one group of amateur podcasters. Can’t say it holds much appeal for me, though.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Michael O’Connor

    That video at the beginning is clearly not a live action demonstration. The handouts movements are way too precise.

    Nice idea, but the smoke and mirrors approach is rather transparent.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Callum

    Is there not a firmware update comming that will allow better tracking? I’m sure the first video was pre-rendered, but it might not be far off what is possible. Watching that video of the guy using Autodesks mo-cap software in conjunction with a hacked kinect shows that the data kinect gathers is actually allready pretty impressive. Out of my price range though, and so far no point in buying one either :P

    #11 4 years ago

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