Today is a bit of a weird one for the Xbox One. After it was revealed that Microsoft had worked on a smell-emitting controller, now we have found out if the console can tell if you are sexually aroused or not. With the Xbox One only a few days away from getting into player’s hands, it is likely this isn’t the kind of coverage that Microsoft thought that it would have on its hands.
In theory, Kinect Fitness is able to read your heart rate from up to ten feet away due to “micro-fluctuations” in your skin. This is one of the aspects of the Kinect 2.0 that Microsoft pushed to try to sell the power of the upgraded camera, even if the capability was just a tinsy bit creepy. That also begged the question, could it read the heart rate for things that weren’t fitness based? Say… whether or not you are turned on?
Thanks to Cara Ellison at the Guardian, we have the hard answer. Talking to Rare‘s development director and Kinect specialist, Nick Burton, Ellison asked just how intimate could the Kinect be with its user?
“Kinect for Xbox One cannot detect skin heat — rather it can detect skin colour, using RGB and Active IR, and human blush response from that. Coupled with player movement analysis, you could potentially infer excitement levels, but we could not speak to the accuracy of this data right now.”
Past all the techno-babble, that basically means it is at least possible, even though no one has really tried it. While asked in jest, it does leave open the question of whether this could be used in nefarious or even beneficial ways. The most cynical will deem this a gross invasion of privacy that could be used for advertising reasons. The more optimistic could see this as a strange, but effective tool in game design.
To draw up an example, if there was a game that was heavily dependent on your relationship with certain characters, the Kinect could read your emotional reaction to each character, be it positive, negative or even physical attraction. Hoping for that kind of fidelity in the bundled Kinect may be hopeful, but you can at least see the future potential in this kind of hardware.
What do you think? Would you be freaked out if the Kinect could tell if you were aroused? Is it crossing a line?
The Kinect 2.0 comes bundled with the Xbox One, which is released on 22 November, 2013.
Source: The Guardian