Microsoft’s Project Natal has been showcased for the past few months and everyone is eager to see how it will be used to play everyone’s favorite video games but have you stopped to wonder how it actually works? Popular Science has a Project Natal exclusive that dives into the brain of the controllerless controller in order to explain how it works.

In general, the post explains that Natal takes a series of pictures, then the distance from the camera to certain points are used to determine what body part is what in the picture. Originally the data points were manually coded and the data fed into the computer but through “machine learning,” and lots of manually coded images, the device will eventually be able to recognize body parts and the positions and motions that frequently occur. Once Natal knows where your body parts are it can use you, and your motions, as a game controller.

This made me think, “What happens if I break my arm while swinging all over the place? Will it know or will it try and straighten my avatar’s arm out?” I know that’s somewhat weird – but it’s a legitimate question.

Natal sounds really cool and, from how it works, it seems like it’s very possible that this will turn out to operate as well as some of us hope. Though, I still can’t imagine playing a natal-powered first person shooter.

Are you excited for Natal? What kind of games would you like to see on the peripheral – given how it actually works?

Project Natal has an expected release of “Holiday Season” 2010.

Source: Popular Science

tags: Natal

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