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Avatar Kinect facial recognition 'just the beginning' - MS

Service coming soon, as Microsoft nods to application's future

Kinect will soon be able to represent your facial expressions on screen, in a step forward that Microsoft promises is "just the beginning" of what its technology will offer in the coming years.

Microsoft's facial recognition technology Avatar Kinect will be available on Xbox 360 this spring. The company promises "a new Xbox LIVE social experience that uses the sensor's precise facial-recognition capabilities to project your face and your expressions into a virtual word".

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Avatar Kinect will enable you to communicate with seven friends in creative themed environments that include 'magical forest', 'talk-show' and 'tailgate party', whilst projecting your facial expressions and voice.

"The work that we did was taking something that was essentially a demo and turning it into a product," said Eric Lang, a general manager for Microsoft Startup Business Group. "It's a huge amount of work."

The tech began in the Microsoft Research division as a study of the "geometry of a gaze" and was then taken on by the Startup Business Group, before Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business (Xbox) became involved.

Pete Thompson, general manager of Xbox LIVE added: "It was personally very gratifying to see the teams come together and find creative solutions. The end result is a highly-curated consumer service that is very compelling, but also has tremendous headroom for future innovation from Microsoft and its partners. This is just the beginning."

Ten million Kinect sensors have sold since the device's November 2010 launch.

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