The biggest star amongst all the new video games and platforms releases at the 2009 E3 convention was Microsoft’s Project Natal.
The project, which at the conference was introduced by Steven Spielberg himself, is touted as being controller free gaming. It uses a simple looking metal bar and box which contain a depth sensor, an RGB camera and a microphone. The system is hooked to a TV display, much like Nintendo’s Wii. The system is a planned add on to the Xbox 360 system.
The system uses full body motion capture and voice recognition to allow the play the games in brand new way. The demonstration at E3 by project leader Kudo Sinoto was very well received.
Of course, right now this technology is designed for gamers and gaming but the possibilities for digital interactive displays in stores are exciting.
Natal recognizes a person by sight and creates an accurate avatar of their body in 3D. What could a clothing store for instance do with that? An interactive dressing room perhaps, without a customer ever needing to change out of their street attire to try on a variety of clothing options? That concept was actually presented in Natal’s own demo video that was posted on You Tube a few days after the E3 launch.
As the technology is being designed for the gaming market the costs of such a system at retail will have to be kept at a reasonable level. This is to be after all and add on only to the X Box 360 system which retails under $300 these days. The possibilities for retailers to embrace this technology in their digital interactive displays are wide open, and it would seem at a far lesser cost than many would have ever thought possible.