Home Gaming The Kinect beams viewed from behind IR goggles

The Kinect beams viewed from behind IR goggles

32 second read


Have you ever wondered how the Kinect is actually seeing and tracking you? Well it’s pretty simple really it just shoots out laser points of light to form a massive grid across your entire lounge and then tracks you moving against them.

Granted I am sure there is a little bit more to it than that but as you will see from the video below the laser points of light exist and you can see them as well if you picked up that collectors set for Modern Warfare 2 that came with the IR goggles.

Last Updated: November 5, 2010


  1. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 5, 2010 at 15:00

    And that’s why it can’t track individual fingers, notice that each of those IR dots are about 2cm a part.


  2. eXp

    November 5, 2010 at 15:22

    Felt like I was watching Paranormal Activity.

    Except this video was actually good.


  3. Christo le Grange

    November 5, 2010 at 19:13

    haha, yeah…its pretty interesting…probably the geekiest thing i’ve seen this week…using MW2 goggles to look at the kinect beams.


  4. Gavin Mannion

    November 5, 2010 at 21:40

    Exactly which also means it’s highly unlikely they will ever track fingers using a software update.


  5. Luna

    November 6, 2010 at 05:30

    That was cool as hell! ^_^


  6. Fox1

    November 6, 2010 at 18:09

    Theres abiut 50 dots per finger. So finger tracking is highly possible but it may use more than 10% system power from the xbox.


  7. Fox1

    November 6, 2010 at 18:10

    Theres about 50 dots per finger. So finger tracking is highly possible but it may use more than 10% system power from the xbox.


  8. Cloud Strife

    November 6, 2010 at 20:38

    possible but not likely. I assume you would need alot more than 50 dots per finger to track accurately, ie minority report levels.

    plus the lag will most likely increase, Kinect and Xbox 360 need to become 1 homogenous product at the moment kinect is leeching of the Xbox 360.


  9. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 8, 2010 at 00:08

    Definitely a hardware limitation, but there’s another side to the story. Have you noticed that if there’s an object in front of aleg or both legs, or even in front of your arms, kinect is unable to compensate, and your avatar generally starts “limb jiggling” or the “crazy avatar dance”.

    Now imagine the problem of tracking 10 digits, instead of just 4 limbs. There is no way Kinect will ever be able to track fingers, without giving you strange artefacts when you clench your fists or fingers “disappear” behind each other or your hand goes behind your body etc.


  10. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 8, 2010 at 00:08

    Not at all possible, read my above post.


  11. Luna

    November 8, 2010 at 00:11

    Bobby, are you basing this off of videos that came out around E3 a year and a bit ago? Or are you basing this off of first hand experience, or at least videos since launch?


  12. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 8, 2010 at 00:17

    No, based on the above mentioned video and a video review (made a day after Kinect was released in the States). The reviewer had a coffee table in front of him, and Kinect was unable to compensate, which resulted in his avatar getting a bad case of “crazy legs”. Once he removed the table, all was well. He then put the table in front of him again. Same “crazy leg effect”.

    It would therefore be the same for fingers.


  13. Luna

    November 8, 2010 at 00:18

    Ok, that makes sense… But Kinect clearly tells you that you shouldn’t have stuff in front of you, like a coffee table. So, I don’t really see how this is as bad as you say.


  14. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 8, 2010 at 00:26

    Actually, that’s why you’re asked not to put anything between you and the camera, because Kinect is unable to compensate or extrapolate. I would have thought Kinect would be able to use the same facial recognition software for bodies as well, and then compensate for any deviation from that, but alas…


  15. Luna

    November 8, 2010 at 00:31

    Well, I’m not worried about that. If I get one, I’ll be sure to move my coffee table. 🙂 In their next console, 5 years down the line, it’ll be much better. And while I doubt we’ll ever see a software update so it can see fingers, I’m sure we’ll see one that understands the body behind small objects eventually.

    BTW, it CAN track fingers … But it was done in a safe cracking demo they made up while it was being developed… But you had to get right up to it and move like you’re cracking a safe. So yeah, no true finger tracking in normal use is likely to come, but that proves that at least they can be creative with what they have now. ^_^


  16. Bobby Kotick for Dummies

    November 8, 2010 at 00:40

    However, that was a Natal demo and not the final toy we’re finally seeing in stores. I know, you may say “but Bobby now you’re just playing with semantics”, but Natal also had a dedicated processor and its camera setup was different, one of the tech demos even had 4 cameras (and who knows how much else it differed from Kinect).


  17. Luna

    November 8, 2010 at 00:43

    It wasn’t actually a Natal demo, it was just in-house, from what I understand. And you can’t deny that it’s possible that the current hardware could easily handle tracking fingers with great detail if the fingers were RIGHT in front of the unit.

    What’s the name of that guy that is always the public face of Kinect? There was a video by him at IGN, I think. I’ll see if I can find the video and find out if it lends us any facts. It’s an interesting video, none the less. ^_^


  18. Steve Hofmeyr

    November 8, 2010 at 09:57

    @ bobby
    I’m not saying that finger tracking is possible but your analysis is a bit skewed since:
    1. You’re basing it off a random guy on the net with an IR cam
    2. you can’t say how far the dots are apart since the beams are falling on uneven surfaces which is skewing the distances.

    Let’s just be rational before dismissing finger tracking.


  19. Steve Hofmeyr

    November 8, 2010 at 10:01


    The amount of dots per finger will increase when you move closer to kinect so maybe if you stand closer there will be enough dots.
    I say the independent devs will shed some light on this as soon as it’s released to them.


  20. Fred

    November 8, 2010 at 10:28

    I want a device to track mosquitoes in my lounge and zap them with a high intensity light beam.


  21. Fox1

    November 8, 2010 at 10:33

    So by hypothesis you have proven Kinect cannot track fingers? :silly:


  22. Fox1

    November 8, 2010 at 10:44

    Ok it cannot track fingers because the Kinect camera has had it’s resolution dropped from the Natal build due to hardware constraints by the USB and also to keep production cost low. There’s also the variation of finger sizes between adults and children that makes finger tracking a tedious task.


  23. Fox1

    November 8, 2010 at 10:47

    Now I’m confused. According to Kudo and the safe cracking demo, fingers can be used to control games. Make up your mind Kudo :devil:


  24. Grant Hinds

    November 12, 2010 at 15:43

    Awesome. So awesome.


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