Now your computer can tell when you're angry at it.
Microsoft announced an updated version of its Kinect SDK, which adds a host of new features. (Among other things, now it can track your body while you're sitting down, easily record and play back tracking data, and do voice recognition in more languages.)
One of the biggest additions, however, is facial tracking--the ability to recognize your facial features and watch your expressions. The best part? It doesn't force you to tape a bunch of little reflective dots to your face, as motion-capture for games and Hollywood movies has long required.
The easiest thing to do with this is to map your facial expression to your character's. Ghosting back to your body (again) in WoW? Your character is frowning too. On the other hand, score some sweet loot and your character's smile will be just as wide as your own.
More interesting is to analyze your facial expressions so the computer can tell what emotions you're experiencing. This might be useful to game developers, say, to track how much time their players spend frustrated vs. happy at a moment-to-moment level.
There's no word yet on whether, like HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the new Kinect SDK will be able read lips, but with this advance it's only a matter of time. You better figure out how to clandestinely signal to your collaborators that you're planning to shut it down before that happens...
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