New Kinect tech demoed across range of Microsoft devices

Modified depth-sensing camera tech, which could be Kinect 2, shown on several prototypes

Microsoft plans to expand Kinect technology beyond the home console and across a range of computing and entertainment devices, a company executive has suggested.

Image: The Verge

Craig Mundie, senior advisor to Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, told The Verge that the corporation wants to build next-gen Kinect technology "as cheap as possible and physically as small as possible".

"My dream is to get a Kinect into the bezel of something like [a Surface tablet]," he added. "It's not going to happen tomorrow, but we can see a path towards that sort of thing."

Reporting from Microsoft's new 'envisioning center' at its Washington campus, a Verge journalist claimed to have spotted new custom models of the Kinect sensor on several devices.

The report reads: "Microsoft has integrated its Kinect sensor in a range of screens at its envisioning center. The sensors appear to be thinner and smaller than existing ones, but a company spokesperson refused to say whether we were looking at Kinect 2 or not."

In January, CVG reported that Microsoft has set about plans to unify its voice and video communication technologies under the Skype brand.

Skype, which is in the process of replacing the instant messenger service MSN, is expected to be integrated across all hardware, including the next Xbox.

Though Mundie claimed that Microsoft's plan is to also integrate Kinect across devices along with Skype, he said some technological hurdles exist.

"It turns out it's infrared so when you go out in the sunlight the sun is a big infrared source that drowns it out," he explained.

"There's a whole bunch of problems, not just miniaturisation, in designing the sensors so they actually do what you expect them to do in all of the environments."

It is speculated that Microsoft will host a next Xbox event towards the end of April.