Head-Tracking Wizard Johnny Lee on Natal Team

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JohnnyLee You may recall that shortly after the launch of the Wii was launched, an enterprising and somewhat rotund Asian genius by the the name of Johnny Lee gained internet fame for his particularly impressive Wiimote hacks. The most famous of which – Video after the jump – showed how infra-red tracking could be utilised for proper head-tracking, and thus lead to immersive proper 3D gaming.

Well, shortly after Microsoft’s E3 conference Mr Lee revealed on his blog that he is part of the Natal team. His inclusion can only mean good things for Natal and should quell the naysayers (such as myself) who initially saw the tech as nothing more than a new fan-dangled Eyetoy iteration.

His explanation of the technology behind the project is an interesting read, and it (along with further research in to time of flight cameras) has me quite excited in the potential Natal has for immersive gaming.

In fact, his assertion that “The human tracking algorithms that the teams have developed are well ahead of the state of the art in computer vision in this domain. The sophistication and performance of the algorithms rival or exceed anything that I’ve seen in academic research, never mind a consumer product.” has me giddy, and has sent my anticipation for the tech through the ceiling.

Nintendo must be kicking themselves for not hiring this man when they had the chance.

Be sure to check out the head-tracking video (indistinguishable from magic) after the jump.

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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