Microsoft's Project Natal 3D Camera System

Microsoft unveiled Project Natal, its new 3D camera system.

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At E3 2009, Microsoft unveiled Project Natal, the code name for a new 3-D camera and mic peripheral. The company showed off various tech demos using the device. Notably, the controller was used to paint by using hand gestures and voice commands. In a second demo created by Lionhead Studios, Peter Molyneux demonstrated the camera's use by playing back a video that showed a woman interacting with an onscreen character named Milo by talking to him and using motion-based gestures.

Project Natal

During the demos, the peripheral was used to capture images, control onscreen avatars, and interact with onscreen environments.

The device seems to use dual cameras to detect motion in three dimensions. A built-in mic detects sounds and records audio for interpretation by games that will use it. Outside of that, little else is known about the specifications of the product in terms of connectivity and even the resolution of the cameras.

Earlier this year, Microsoft completed the acquisition of 3DV Systems, a small startup dedicated to 3D imaging technology. In addition to gaming applications, the company's systems have been used in advanced defense systems. The company demonstrated its ZCam at CES 2008. 3DV's technology lets cameras "sense distance in real time between an imaging sensor and the objects in its field of view (that is, the objects' depth) at high speed and high resolution." It's not known whether Microsoft is currently using 3DV's technology or plans to use it for future products.

Microsoft didn't reveal the final product name for Project Natal, the pricing, or an arrival date.

Check out the Project Natal Hands-Off Controller Official Trailer.

Discussion

53 comments
jmalo1
jmalo1

i hope it doesn't end up failing like the nintendo power glove

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

great but I hope we won't be seeing that much of kids games.

bennae66
bennae66

the only real and proper groundbreaking thing at e3

apolloooo
apolloooo

Cool!! better version of playstation eye? with 3D motion cencoring? awesome

msudude211
msudude211

Awesome technology Microsoft developed. Hopefully some decent games will put this to good use in the future.

alosborne
alosborne

@asian_pride69 I agree with you, though it does look impressive and i may like it, I always want the option of a controller. (P.S. Using the camera means no more vibration through the controller!)

asian_pride69
asian_pride69

Impressive indeed, though motion control isn't really my thing. Could be pretty fun from time to time, but not everyday.

rasengan987
rasengan987

looks really cool but it may be pricey

MasonWozniack
MasonWozniack

I CAME..............................to town........OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM

killswitch88
killswitch88

After seeing the video of it in use this has my attention. At first I thought was just something like the Wii but this actually has some very good potential. @ojeaca, It'll probably cost an arm and a leg when it first comes out XD

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

this is very interesting, I wonder when we will see the first games (I hope they're nothing like the wii -for casual gamers- otherwise I'll pass)

ojeaca
ojeaca

how much will it cost ????

jvdryd3r
jvdryd3r

What is this Natal project can any body make me understand?

PSFreak1
PSFreak1

not really my cup of tea

jovipman
jovipman

the lag is huge and frustrating

toledo-rick
toledo-rick

if this actually goes thru well and as it shows i think this would be a huge stepping stone, making XBOX a huge dominant in games, i mean come on, think about it, just look alone the girls talkin thru webcam and able to share actual clothing and seeing how it will look on the person, you kno movin all angles for a better view. That was just amazin, and the game accross, like Jeopardy, this instrument have lots of potential n if done very well it will succeed

gmax
gmax

(* deep voice *) NATALITY! Mark me down as a total skeptic.

gonzalezj1
gonzalezj1

Natal is also a synonym for "birth" or can mean "relating to birth". I'm guessing it has more to do with that definition than with Christmas. Natal only means Christmas because it means birth (ie birth of Christ). I mean, why would a code name for a project (something that was probably decided years before it was mentioned to the public) have to do with its eventual release date? I'm guessing it has to do with the "birth" of a new way of playing games.

shawnbttu
shawnbttu

Just saw you all know Natal is Portuguese for Christmas...maybe a hint at a release date?

pigman239
pigman239

Wow that actually sounds kind of cool. I was expecting a webcam with a microphone and maybe some rayman spin off mini game to go with it. As long as the price is right, i'm intrigued by this peripheral....

strahd01
strahd01

The camera itself is impressive enough, it will be nice to be able to just use my hands to navigate the NXE menu (look damn impressive with company over) I can't even image some of the games that will be made for this. But Milo that was pretty amazing (if it works like Peter M says it does) the video showed this woman having a conversation with this thing and it seem completely natural. Ok i am sure that would be huge and more and likely a next gen thing but think about having a "Milo" in games like Mass Effect or Fallout or heck anything! You talk to the NPC naturally and they awnser you back! Think how a adventure game mystery would play like! think Sherlock Holmes! If it all works this will be the future, one step closer to the holodeck people!

km1498
km1498

This dosnt sound that bad, I would get it unless its very expensive.

WizengamotX
WizengamotX

@Tom1243 The expression "want to get my hands on it" will no longer apply to gaming.

Tom1243
Tom1243

Looked amazing...want to get my hands on it :)

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

............ i cant see myself having to move around to play a 360 game... first because this will require much more space than the wii (which already requires some space for games like wii sports), and second because this somehow reminds me of virtual boy and all its "innovation"... *prepares anti-thumb-down shield*

jkirk13
jkirk13

Well look at this, Star Trek is finally here. This looks awesome.

Ikonoeirei
Ikonoeirei

@toysoldier34 Yeah! Screw having the XBOX360 for 3 years! It should have shipped with this technology that wasn't even around until recently!

W3En
W3En

I would have to agree, playing an RTS with this technology would be a very interesting addition...being able to command things via voice and hand motion commands would be very immersive.

Mj-Healy
Mj-Healy

I would buy sixty quid just for the fun of moving menus with my hand

Gamer4Iife
Gamer4Iife

I hope Project Natal fails hard. We need to move the industry forward, not backwards. People are just too lazy to learn to use a controller, but how hard is it, really? A controller has less buttons than a TV remote, it's not rocket science ffs. :|

Furanko_Kun
Furanko_Kun

That was an amazing conference in my opinion BECAUSE it touched on every subject/genre and laid to rest a lot of rumors that turned out to be true to half-true lol Great Job Microsoft. Now I want to watch Nintendo's conference, solely for DS purposes. And I'll be doing that by means of my Sony VAIO laptop ^_^

prostar343
prostar343

Will be interesting if any good software is created to take advantage of this. The Milo demonstration was interesting but couldn't help but feel creeped out by the interaction a definite jump into the uncanny valley. The possible was this could be implemented into a FPS or RTS will be interesting. But I really wonder if 3rd party support will back this as its already very expensive to create video games as is and this only adds another layer of cost while essentially making the game an Xbox 360 exclusive. So I guess it will be a primarily Microsoft backed adventure. Interesting though.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

this should be free since it should have come with the system. dont make us pay for more crap microsoft

Barighm
Barighm

Used in defense? Cool, use actual defense-grade software to take part in defense simulations! lol

-Celeste-
-Celeste-

This would seem pretty cool paired with actual accessories. Toy guns replicas of key weapons in FPS would make this thing ideal for looking and aiming ... but i'll pass on all the walking you would have to do. Seem's this has the precision necessary but still need peripherals.

McGregor
McGregor

looks very cool. Might get the wife to play some games with me every now and then.

guynamedyeah
guynamedyeah

a good wii killer. i dont really care about casual gaming though. i do like it though. its the only thing on xbox i like.

DarkNeoBahamut
DarkNeoBahamut

looks interesting, but I'd like to watch it with some REAL games.

Hedgyness
Hedgyness

This looks pretty interesting, hope it wont be used as more of a gimmick within future games though.

hhap52
hhap52

looks soooo good. just hope it works just as well. i wonder how much it will be