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Kinect's brain works like your brain

Alex Kipman knows - he made it.

Every time you play with Kinect - out now in the US and on 10th November in the UK - it will see and it will learn. And in a similar way a baby understands the world so, Kinect creator Alex Kipman believes, will his camera decipher you.

"The Kinect brain works in the same way as your brain, or my brain. Our brains are machines designed to essentially be this massive blob of signal to noise. We push away the noise and very quickly focus in on the signal," Kipman explained to GamesIndustry.biz.

"Imagine we have a fictitious baby," he went on. "She or he is zero years old, you show this baby a human and a lion, and you say, 'Here baby, tell the difference between them.' Turns out that a brand new baby cannot. Time goes by and now this baby has enough reference data, historical data, to be able to predict, next time you show it, the difference between the two.

Kipman added: "Our world works in the same way. Your brain doesn't just know everything that it sees. As you walk through the world, it's using previous historical data to essentially predict, based on probabilities, what you're seeing now.

"Kinect works in the same way, that's the fundamental principle. What we've done is shown it a sample of statistically significant data which allows us to comprehend the world in a way similar to the way your brain operates."

It's this learning that will require Kinect pinches processor time from Xbox 360 CPU or GPU - a single-figure percentage. And it's this learning that will enable Kinect to present less lag than it theoretically should. That's the magical part.

"There's a reason that these kinds of science fiction turned science fact technologies haven't been available before," Kipman said. "And this is where I'll tell you, 'Hey, there's been a breakthrough.'

"Quite a significant number of them," he added.

And don't go worrying that Kinect's demands on the GPU or CPU will make your games run slower: even the most magnificent games leave Kipman plenty of room to manoeuvre.

"The answer is, as much as we like to talk about bits and percentages, you take a game like, I don't know, Call of Duty: Black Ops - there's a significant amount of processing, be it CPU or GPU, that still remains on the table," Kipman revealed. "So after that, when we came to this revelation about games and future games that would be coming to Xbox, we looked at it and we said, 'Is it worth the trade-off to put on-board processing on the device when we think we can create magical, unique, deep, thorough experiences without it?'"

He didn't give an answer. Strange.

Head over to GamesIndustry.biz for part one of the fascinating journey into Alex Kipman's [not Shipman you idiot -Ed] brain. He's odd, and perhaps brilliant.

Ellen Degeneres likes Kinect. Ho ho ho, she's funny.

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Robert Purchese

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Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.