MS Demos Wii-Like Controller for Xbox 360, Hands-free

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft recently introduced a prototype camera that is to be used in place of a standard controller for the Xbox 360.

Codenamed "Project Natal", the camera can track the full body movement of the player, recognize their face and voice, scan images of real items and respond to physical and vocal commands.

The actual hardware for Project Natal combines a camera, depth sensor, microphone and processor to give users the ultimate gaming experience. (Source:

Project Natal Puts Gamers Into the Action

Project Natal was revealed at Microsoft's Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 along with three prototype games.

"Ricochet", a game similar to soccer, required the player to use their entire body to bounce balls as designated targets.

As the name suggests, "Paint Party" was introduced as an art-making program with a twist. Instead of offering the standard crayon, pencil and eraser icons, Paint Party allows the player to use their body as a giant paintbrush.

Perhaps no game revealed at the Expo was more impressive than "Milo & Kate", a virtual boy and girl tandem that can communicate and interact with the player.

Think about that for a second. Not only do we control the destiny of our avatars when we play video games, but we can now (apparently) dive right into the game and communicate with them one-to-one. In the game, players use the motion of their bodies to perform tasks like handing the characters virtual objects.

Not Just Fun and Games at the Expo

Of course, Microsoft's display at the annual E3 was not dedicated to Project Natal alone.

Other items of importance included the announcement that Xbox Live can now access streaming music service In addition, Live users will be able to navigate their ways to social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, beginning this fall. The latter sites will be fully integrated into the Xbox Live interface, allowing users to send messages, upload photos and tweet with their console. (Source:

While Microsoft would not predict a timeframe for Project Natal's release, it should be noted that game developers will begin receiving developmental kits sometime this week. This means that tethered-free, full-body motion game play could become a reality in the very near future.

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