USA TODAY reports that Microsoft is set to pull the dropcloth off of Project Natal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week, but don’t call it that anymore: the new name is Kinect. It’s like “connect”, get it? Except it’s touchless, so you won’t physically connect with anything, and it’s got nothing to do with their Kin phones.
As you should recall, the project formerly known as “Natal” is Microsoft’s venture into motion controlled gaming. But instead of using a game controller like the Nintendo Wii, the system recognizes body movement as well as your face and voice for control. Not only does the experience promise to be easier for non-gamers to pick up, but you won’t have to worry about losing a game controller again. A number of games, including the obligatory sports and dance games, will be announced at E3.
In addition to the game stuff, Kinect brings a new level of natural user interface to the living room computing environment. Instead of figuring out the buttons on a remote control, gestures and voice control could be the tools to tell your XBox media center what to do. Only a matter of time before some of that seeps into home PC control and then maybe, possibly, hopefully voice can take center stage in mobile control.