One of the biggest criticisms around Microsoft’s new Kinect is around its allegedly new technology. Many argue that the tech in Kinect is nothing new and has been done before.
The devices that many have been drawing parallel to the Kinect are the PS2 EyeToy and the Playstation Eye. Many believe that these devices offer the same capabilities as the Kinect.
Some of the features touted for the Kinect are:
- Face recognition
- Body tracking
- Voice recognition
We’ve known that the PS Eye can do face/head tracking, but can it do face recognition?
Apparently the PS Eye has always been capable of facial detection. You just have to program for it. According to SlashGear the PS Eye can "detect gender and even the age of the face, separate facial features such as the nose, eyes and ears, and even detect whether you’re smiling or not.” Apparently these tools are currently in development so that third party studios can implement them without hard coding anything.
We’ve known that the PS2 EyeToy and PS Eye can detect movement, but can it do full body tracking?
It appears that these two devices have always been able to do full body tracking. PS2 game Kinetic 2005 (no relation to Kinect) was able to do full body tracking to get users exercising. PS Eye also has a game called Kung Fu Live that tracks your entire body and translates your body movements onto the screen.
We know that the PS2 EyeToy and PS Eye both have mics built in for video chat, but can it be used for voice recognition?
Those that may have played Sing Star will probably already know the answer to that question. Sony has had voice recognition tech in its Sing Star titles. However, Sony will be incorporating this capability into the SDKs so developers can use this tech on any games.
This tech allows you to navigate menus, start and stop playback all via voice commands. A mic is required like the one built into the PS Eye or standalone Sing Star mic.
Here is a video compilation of the mention features side by side:
It appears that the PS2 EyeToy and PS Eye are capable of doing pretty much most of Kinect’s touted features. So, does Kinect bring anything new to the table?
Yes. One thing Kinect does have going for it is its package. Unlike many of the tech shown above, Microsoft is packaging all of the tools and functionality into one tidy SDK for developers. Also, Microsoft may have the right marketing campaign for the Kinect. The ads have been targeted at the casual market with futuristic promises that seem enticing. Marketing is probably the factor that will either make or break Kinect.