Having spent time with Microsoft's new Kinect sensor on the Xbox One, I am massively impressed—and thoroughly creeped out. The device is everything the company boasted and more, and the idea of that all-seeing eye watching me at all times is enough to make me question whether I actually want one in my living room.
As Microsoft explained when it was announced, the Kinect uses a new method of sensing depth called "time of flight." This technology, usually found in labs, fires out photons and measures when and how they come back. It's a bit like doing echolocation with light, and it works extremely well.
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The level of detail is incredible, especially compared with the laggy, inexact original Kinect. This thing could recognize your face if it needs to using its traditional camera, but it can also analyze the shape of your nose, the style of your hair, or a favorite accessory like a watch or hat.
Not only that, it can see you in low light—or no light at all, using built-in infra-red—and is constantly monitoring your face to see if you're happy, engaged, talking or looking at it. The sensor array can even detect your heart rate. Its accuracy isn't known yet—don't go hooking a life support system up to it just yet—but biometrics can be used to build more vivid games.