Kinect is more than a device that gathers dust underneath your TV. Microsoft has just added face tracking capabilities via a software update, meaning Kinect will be able to read and react to your facial expressions.
This means that if you smile, theoretically your avatar will be smiling too. It's all part of Microsoft's new SDK for Kinect, aimed at those writing Kinect Apps for Windows. According to the Windows blog:
Face Tracking Capabilities
Makes it possible to fit a 3D mesh to users’ faces and track their facial features and head position in real time using components from the Developer Toolkit. In addition, newly added joint orientation information for skeletons is ideal for avatar animation scenarios and simple pose detection.
Along with the new facial recognition, the new SDK also adds improved skeletal tracking, speech recognition options and some other odds and ends. It will be interesting to see if any PC developers branch out and develop some boundary-pushing software.
By Stephen Heller - Bio