Microsoft's Kinect motion controller camera for the Xbox 360 game console can detect relatively simple motions and shapes generated by people in a room. But in a newly revealed patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, via GeekWire, Microsoft is proposing that a 3D camera similar to the Kinect could be used to figure out the size of the people it sees in the room. Once it has that info, the camera could be used to identify the age of each person in that location.
A Kinect-like camera with such a feature would be helpful to parents who might be afraid that their kids could watch a movie or TV show or play a game that has adult-rated content. If a parent is watching, for example, The Walking Dead and then a child enters the room, the sensor could "see" that and then automatically switch the content shown on the TV screen to, say, iCarly. Of course the parent would have the power to go ahead and override the settings if they feel that their kids can watch a more mature-themed movie or play a "T" or even an "M" rated game.
As with all patent applications, there's no word if Microsoft is planning to offer this kind of technology in the near future. However, the Kinect camera sensor has been a big hit for the Xbox 360 and even PC users, with the official Kinect SDK, have been using the device. It's more than possible that Microsoft could develop an advanced version of the Kinect camera that would add these kinds of body and age detecting features.
[Update] Title update for clarity.