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Kinect can work out your age

And block adult content, patent suggests.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft may use motion-sensing add-on Kinect to work out your age, a new patent application suggests.

The patent, filed in March 2010 but publicly released by the USPTO (spotted by Geekwire) reveals Kinect could automatically restrict content by working out the age of the people standing in the room.

If it sees adults, the PC or Xbox 360 can play adult content. If it sees kids, that content will be blocked. If kids walk into the room, it will automatically switch over to "substitute" content. And when the kid exits, it will switch back.

Here's how it works:

"The metrics can relate to, e.g., a relative size of a head of the body, a ratio of arm length to body height, a ratio of body height to head height, and/or a ratio of head width to shoulder width," reads the patent application.

"The metrics are particularly indicative of age group. Based on the age group, a profile of the user is automatically updated with various parental control settings which control access to the electronic media device. Also, currently output content can be replaced by substitute content when a person in a lower age group enters the field of view."

But what happens when there are adults and kids in a room together?

"Note that when multiple people are in a room, they may be associated with different age groups," continues the application. "Generally, a policy can be implemented that the lowest age group prevails so that the youngest person is not exposed to inappropriate content. However, it is also possible for an older age group to prevail, based on a policy that it is acceptable for the younger person to view the content when an older person is present.

"A modification of this policy is that the older age group prevails, up to a maximum content rating. For instance, a child alone may be permitted to view only a G rated movie, while an adult alone is permitted to view an R rated movie. As a compromise, the child and parent together are permitted to view, say, a PG rated movie. Thus, the allowed content rating is intermediate to the lower and higher content ratings."

The patent awaits approval, and does not indicate Microsoft will use Kinect in the way described.

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