Yesterday, Microsoft announced it’s new game console: Xbox One. It now runs an 8 Core x86 AMD CPU, 8GB DDR3 with a 500GB hard drive, Blu-ray player and much more. It’s shaping up to be quite the machine. While all that hardware is good, it’s the software within the updated Kinect which has caught my eye.
The New Kinect
The Kinect software is something that can be put into vehicles’ infotainment systems. It can bring better voice recognition, new and safer ways to input information to the vehicle while in motion. We’ve already seen vehicle manufacturers toying with the idea of eye tracking and gesture controlled infotainment. The first generation Kinect software has been put to use in vehicles before: just look at the hands free lift gate on the 2013 Escapes. Yup, that technology comes from Xbox’s Kinect system.
Now the second generation of Kinect reads your movements at 60fps and has a 1080p sensor. This new technology will now allow it to pick up finer movements like a twist of a wrist and even your heartbeat. Microsoft even claims that it will also work in complete darkness, which means your gestures will still be read even when driving at night.
One of the improvements which I’m really excited about is the voice recognition software. The new Kinect will have an always-listening feature. Now even when the Xbox One is off, you can say “Xbox on” and it will respond and turn on. The system then logs them into their profile with all of their previous activity already up and ready to use. The beauty isn’t in the fact that you can turn the Xbox One on by your voice, it’s that you don’t need to initiate it to listen before giving your command. This is huge for customizing the owner experience in future vehicles: You can simply say a command out of the blue and it will recognize it.
The current SYNC system requires the driver to initiate a listening mode by pressing the “voice” button. With Kinect technology, the driver can enter the vehicle and say a command like “Start” and his/her driving preferences load automatically. The possibilities are endless here. The vehicle can know you like to drive sporty, so it tightens up the steering and makes the pedals more responsive. It could also remember that you normally listen to a certain playlist from you iPod so it plays that as soon as the car is started. Even adjusting simple things like seat, steering wheel and side mirrors to your specifications could be done.
I’m am heavily anticipating this technology being put to use in future vehicles. So, here’s to hoping for the future!