Wired has the inside story on how Kinect came to be, from Project Natal until today, just weeks away from being available. Kinect looks like a great accessory, even with the high price tag. You know it takes a lot of technology to get all this accomplished!
The problem wasn’t vision. It was the task’s sheer impossibility. Finding cameras that could map a living-room in 3D was easy. Getting one reliably to decode the flailing limbs and shouts of 40 million Xbox users was a whole other dream. To pull this off, the hardware would require software “brain” capable of interpreting what the team calculated was a crushing 1023 spatial and aural variables at any given moment. And it would have to do this on the fly, with no perceptible on-screen lag.