Microsoft's Project Natal Seeks Poetry in Motion

NYTimes: Microsoft's headline announcement at this year's E3 gaming conference was a motion-detection system housed in a sensor bar that plugs into your Xbox 360's ports. The pull-out-all-the stops unveiling included an on-stage appearance by Steven Spielberg who raved "I think what Microsoft is doing is not about reinventing the wheel. It's about no wheel at all."

I had my doubts.

First, we've all seen motion tracking before. Remember the Intel Play Me2Cam (1999)? How about Sony's EyeToy (2003), which offered several motion sensing party games for the PlayStation 2, (including a burglar alarm)? There was also Hasbro's ION (2006). Sony's PS3 PlayStation Eye (2007) came with motion games like Eye of Judgment. All came with big claims but limited success.

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Time Lord3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

A- The guy looks like a douche playing burnout

B If it so 'Awesome' why didn't they let us see the game, to see how responsive it is.

Why dis3299d ago

You are sick of reading about Natal? Why do you troll the articles about Natal then? It's popular so people write about it.

locos853299d ago

Honestly I don't think Natal is as revolutionary as the media is making it seem.

But if it works and its fun then great. I will be glad to pick it up at a reasonable price point.

I hope that micro doesn't treat this as new console it self and create game that only work with Natal but also games that are integrated with it.

Jim Hawking3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

I said this in a previous post but I don't think many people saw it.

I have a degree in computer science and computer vision and I can tell you for a fact, some of the things that the natal wants to do is impossible with one camera. Natal can tell where your hands and feet are, which is cool, but in terms of actual 3d tracking, it is scientifically impossible to do with any less then 3 cameras (although you can fudge it with 2).

Essentially you are interacting with the games with your silhouette. Any fine detailing will be almost impossible since if your silhouette crosses itself it will get confused. There may be some neat apps but any hardcore gaming aps is going to be very hard to do. Aiming will be impossible since you can't detect the arc of the shot using a silhouette.

Sony's tech is a combination of the Wii and the Natal. It grants 3d positioning with the controller, controls with the buttons, and tracking with sensors and the camera, so more detail is possible. Sorry, but the Natal has some fundamental problems.

The Natal, at least so far, is not doing true body tracking. It is tracking the hands and feet (and head, and maybe pelvis), and using something called Inverse Kinematics (IK Solving, google it) to determine where the rest of the body is in 3D space. IK solving is never perfect and often leads to weird bugs where the limbs flail around, such as the "BAM there it is" bug.

I'm not saying this won't be worth buying, but for Christ sake do the industry a service and require some proof out of Microsoft before you buy into this.

Silellak3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

Response to B:

If you want to see someone playing Burnout with Natal AND see the screen, just go here:


Response to A:

If you don't care about Natal, don't post in the news threads about it. What a fascinating concept. Ignoring something you don't like.

I also find it fascinating you don't want to hear anything more about Natal...yet you approved this story. Hoping some Sony fans will give you bubbles for posting an anti-MS post as the first reply to an article?

Sad, man. Just sad.

Why dis3299d ago

SDF is working long hard overtime hours on the one. We have a record. I don't think the masses care what some anti msft kid or some fanatical man-boy thinks about Natal

butterfinger3299d ago

That Jimmy Fallon vid was actually pretty impressive. I hope they can implement Natal into other pre-existing games. I really want it to work with a game like Fight Night Rd. 4.:)

Monchichi0253299d ago

I've never seen Sony Fanboys so scared of anything like this before! Any mention of Natal puts them in a frenzy.

It must be because it's generating so much Buzz that there scared that if it does possibly work, it's a Game changer like nothing else before. It's getting people who never talk about gaming to actually listen. Quite the oppisite of the Sony control which has generated no buzz.

Silellak3299d ago

Man, something like Fight Night would be fantastic.

maxcer3299d ago

"it is scientifically impossible to do with any less then 3 cameras (although you can fudge it with 2)."

im curious, i thought it did have 2 camera sensors...

hmm found this:
"RGB camera, depth sensor, multi-array microphone, and custom processor running proprietary software"

all speculation aside, i think if this is done properly and has a good library of games at launch it might be worth looking into.

chaosatom3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

It's a neat concept, but still has a lot of loop holes.
Like the amount of space needed, the cost of the peripheral, the voice recognition system, the lag/accuracy of the device.

i actually think this will work out, but it doesn't make me go out and buy a 360 as of right now. MS hyping Natal this soon does make me a little suspicious, but it's what they do best.

IdleLeeSiuLung3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

This technology is very much in it's infancy and there will be glitches/issues since it isn't perfect, but it really is a huge leap forward in terms of tracking accuracy in 3D space under any lighting condition.

If you watch the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon, you really witness the excitement and to some degree a positive surprise of the participant. This will open up a new way go game, but not necessarily replace, but maybe add to how you currently game right now.

I frankly was baffled at how it just immediately recognized another person jumping in. No re-calibration necessary.

In 10 years time, it is more than likely that this technology will be cheap enough to implement into TV's, stereo equipment and etc. You may no longer need the remote....

beans3299d ago

"I can tell you for a fact, some of the things that the natal wants to do is impossible with one camera."

It uses two camera's.

Jim Hawking3299d ago

In order to fudge it, the two cameras have to be in different places, like at 45 degree angles from the target, in order to do the tracking hack. Also the two cameras in the natal are two different types of cameras.

The point is that I think people are letting themselves believe that this thing can do way more then it possibly could. Sony fans did the same thing with the PS3 when it was first announced, this is no different.

3299d ago
beans3299d ago

Well I sure as heck didn't go to school for this so I'm just going to wait and see what happens. Good luck MS with your vision, and hopefully it works out good.

Qui-Gon Jim3299d ago

They are only an inch or two apart. Not far enough for it get the parallax view necessary for real 3d imaging. The second camera is IR to 1) see in darkened rooms, and 2) it uses the IR camera somehow judge distances and make a guess at the 3d situation.

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BYE3299d ago

"We were not allowed to film the screen"


StanLee3299d ago

It was demoed on Jimmy Fallon's late night show and it was impressive. It was all anyone could talk about the next day. Even local news affiliates were carrying the story. It's amazing how quickly Natal readjusts to the height of a new user. The technology isn't fake. It potential is quite impressive but frankly, as a gamer, I need the feedback that a controller gives. I saw them playing Burnout Paradise on Jimmy Fallon and I wouldn't enjoy playing a racing title this way.

butterfinger3299d ago

that was the only thing that seemed pretty sketch about the whole thing. I'm hoping that this actually works well by the time they are ready to release it, and I think it's pretty cool that he was actually (allegedly) playing Burnout Paradise. I was afraid we were only going to be able to play cheesy little kid games.

StanLee3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

It's legit. It was demoed in front of the studio audience on Jimmy Fallon's show and in front of the television cameras and broadcasted. It works even on Burnout Paradise which wasn't developed to use Natal. Again, the problem is, you have no feedback from a controller or wheel which you can physically hold, so in my view it's a very detached experience. After the initial "wow" factor wears off, it's going to be a shallow experience.

BYE3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )


Then why they aren't cool with The New York Times filming...

On TV shows you can do rehearsals etc.

I just miss the confidence in their product in that clip.

Qui-Gon Jim3299d ago

You can see lag between the player's actions and what happens on screen. Why can't anybody avoid crashing the car?

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Qui-Gon Jim3299d ago

Depending on different conditions, of course. He says the camera is "not as advanced as you might think." Natal is mostly done in software.

Good news because then Nintendo may have to lower the price of the Wii, and i might buy one.

Gun_Senshi3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

Video Speaks for itself

and before you call me Sonyfanboy, because for fanboys here, everyone that says something against MS even though he is right gets sony fanboy. I am a PC Gamer Mainly, and Sony can stick their mote where the sun don't shine

hahaha check your comment history al lyou do is trolling and yo just joined n4g

NATAL-FTW3299d ago

I just check your comment history. 90% of your comments are on a NATAL topic and you are trying to convince people NATAL is fake and a rip off.


Let me guess, your mission is to stop the evil corporation that you know as Microsoft from brain washing us with Project Natal code name New World Order. Well I guess I will see you in the next 100 NATAL articles. : )

MicroSony4Life3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

Calm down dude. I too just checked your comment history and your comment are very Anti 360, its one thing to enjoy one console but its another to hate the other.

Do you know what trolling is. Trolling is when you go on a 360 topic and start saying negative stuff about it, which is exactly what you do. I know both sides are bad but since NATAL was mentioned at E3 guys like you have been turning up your [email protected] level to code red.

D4RkNIKON3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

OK.. So both of the above comments point out that gun_senshi is a trolling fanboy.. That being said, how come no one could respond to his video he posted. Haha it really does prove his point quite nicely. I love how every one is avoiding the obvious, Natal is a spin off of SONY products that span from PS2 to the PS3. Sony's motion controller will combine Natal tech with Wii mote tech to be the best of both worlds.

@NATAL_FTW You are such a troll yourself..

Xi3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

All of the videos that were posted show the game working on a 2d plane, and does not show the player movements being tracked in any form of 1:1 motion similar to natal... Nor does it show any facial recognition since the only part that it does show could easily just track for anyone moving in front of the camera.

There's your rebute, Happy?

Honestly, just leave natal alone if you don't like it.

D4RkNIKON3299d ago (Edited 3299d ago )

lol for calling Natal 1:1 3D motion tracking. The thing is.. Natal is a cool concept. The PSeye is a cool concept. The hype and glorification that Natal is receiving is not justified. I mean the video posted above clearly proves that the same type of apps have existed years ago on the PS2. It just upsets me to see people blindly following the hype as if it is this is something that we have never seen before.

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