Microsoft introduces controller free gaming, Project Natal

Microsoft today introduced Project Natal, a method for interacting with games, controller free.

The software giant unveiled the project at a packed out press event for this years E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles, California. The ground breaking technology was introduced by both Stephen Spielberg and gaming legend Peter Molyneux. Both believe the technology has the power to turn games into a true mass entertainment medium. Spielberg said "This is a pivotal moment that will carry with it a wave of change, the ripples of which will reach far beyond video games".

The technology behind Natal is fairly simple, a TV-mounted camera/microphone bar to sense motion, sound and movement. What's new and ground breaking is the tracking of 3D movement as well as 2D movement. The system is also able to scan users faces and sign them into Xbox live, as well as react to vocal tone and pitch, and process this data in real-time. The key to the system is accuracy and during one of the demos the presenter managed to move an avatar in a rather bizarre and un-human like fashion:

Regardless of the flaw in the demo, the technology looks promising and will allow users to interact with the Xbox menu systems, avatars and games specifically designed for the upcoming unit. Microsoft confirmed Natal, which has no official name, release date or price, will also work with existing Xbox 360 consoles as well as all future models.

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