Why Finger Tracking MUST Come to Kinect

Ryan Johnson | GoozerNation

There have been rumblings since the beginning of Kinect that one day it would be able to track finger movements. Ryan Johnson reviews this potential, and how it could not only give Microsoft an edge over Sony, but shoot Kinect into the stratosphere in uses outside of gaming.

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Ulf2465d ago (Edited 2465d ago )

As-is, the depth camera does not have the resolution to both track a body head-to-toe within its field-of-view, and track something as small as a finger at the same time.

You would need a depth camera with about 4x the resolution, about 2x the refresh rate, and you subsequently would need to spend about 8x the processing horsepower on evaluating said image over time. You would also need to double (or so) the number of skeleton "bones" that Kinect tracks, if you added fingers.

XBox 720 / Kinect 2.0, sure, np.
Xbox 360 / Kinect 1.0... never.

RyanDJ2465d ago

That is absolutely true. I figure it when I look at the system specs, let alone it's the first gen of this tech. I know it has been a dream since the start of Kinect, and I seriously doubt Microsoft is NOT working on it, whether it be a pipe dream for preliminaries on this system, or the full fledged optimum on the next generation.

crillinFLIP3372465d ago

If I remember right when they first announced Kinect, it was supposed to be able to track individual fingers but then in a cost saving choice they removed the internal processors from the camera unit and made it use the 360 to process the images.

kneon2465d ago (Edited 2465d ago )

Even if you could track fingers accurately, such a control mechanism is still inferior to real buttons when rapid button presses are required.

The travel on most buttons other than the triggers is about a millimeter or 2. Because there is a physical button you can press the button many times per second. With no physical buttons your finger would have to travel further otherwise there would be far too many misreads by the system and you'd be firing when you didn't mean to. Plus it's just a harder motion to do quickly without the button there to stop your finger.

Finger tracking has it's uses but it can never replace real buttons for every situation. Some games are just better with controllers no matter what they come up with in motion control.

Ducky2465d ago (Edited 2465d ago )

... Wonder what this means for all those adult-rated kinect games.

Come to think of it, DukeNukemForever probably could've benefited a lot with kinect.

MrBeatdown2465d ago

Are we still talking about fingers here?

Takoulya2465d ago

The thing about Kinect is that is a potentially great peripheral for the 360, but there just aren't enough uses with the 360 to make it a good buy. I feel the same about PS Move. Remember the tech demo with the Move controlling windows on the screen, allowing the controller to place pictures and bend them? That's just the kind of stuff that would be great with Kinect and Move, but just aren't there. I'm sure the next generation of consoles will easily have enough power to make those things a reality without having to dedicate all of the system's RAM to it. Just imagine, playing a coop game online with a friend and being sent a live video feed of his screen which you can move with your hands or Move controller to fit wherever you want it to on your screen.

m232465d ago

Didn't they already show off finger tracking at their e3 press conference? They are adding an application to Kinect FunLabs soon to show it off.

Ulf2465d ago (Edited 2465d ago )

Kinect can track fingers as long as you are only a couple feet in front of the camera. It can't see the rest of the body at that distance, but it can pick up the fingers with special tracking software.

Some of stuff they've shown thusfar is more akin to facial recognition, using the color camera with hand gestures, but that's not the same thing as "finger tracking".

MIT has demonstrated finger tracking by using a Kinect camera on a PC, but the application requires a lot of extra image processing horsepower (hence, the PC requirement), and requires that the user stand pretty close to the camera as well. In other words, its not really usable for games.

Kinect 2.0, XBox 720, as I stated previously.

kneon2465d ago

That's a result of the low resolution of the camera. They need to stand closer to the camera in order to have sufficient resolution to reliably discern individual fingers.

RyanDJ2465d ago

I am sure something can happen, they also discuss making the Fun Labs have some function that can translate facial expressions to your avatars.