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Microsoft shows controller-less Xbox game control gadget

Project Natal uses voice, motion detection

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Microsoft has finally confirmed that an Xbox 360 motion-capture gadget’s in the works.

At the ongoing E3 games fair in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced Project Natal – its codename for a “revolutionary new way to play" that uses "no controller”.

Xbox_360_Project_Natall_01

Microsoft's 'Natal': an Xbox 360 motion-capture gadget

The firm’s keeping mum about the device’s specifics for now, but a promotional video shows a 20cm or so sensor bar that enables you to play games without using any form of handheld controller.

Sound familiar? We thought so, because Register Hardware trialled just such a gaming device at Mobile World Congress back in February. It allowed us to control a virtual racing car by simply holding out both arms as though gripping a steering wheel.

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Drive cars without a steering wheel

And Microsoft’s promo video shows a young girl doing exactly the same thing, in addition to several other motion-capture controlled games.

So far, Microsoft’s only said that Project Natal combines an RGB camera, a depth sensor, an array of microphones and a custom processor running “proprietary software”.

It sits underneath your telly to “pick-up full body movement in 3D, while responding to commands, directions and even a shift of emotion in your voice”.

The video also shows a family using the gadget like a webcam and as a way of cycling through Xbox Live’s video-on-demand content without using the console’s controller.

Microsoft’s yet to announce when Natal will be available, or how much it’ll cost. ®

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