Kinect Fun Labs brings exciting innovation to Kinect for Xbox 360 owners and offers more extraordinary ways to have fun. Create magical moments with never-before-seen Kinect technology, including player capture, object scanning and finger tracking. Choose from a variety of Gadgets in Kinect Fun Labs — turn yourself into a bobblehead, bring your favourite stuffed animal to life or create art with your fingertips. This opens gamers up to indie-type world where you will be able to get new experiences and gadgets being made by anyone using the freely-available Kinect Dev Kits.
This is a gadget that will allow you to scan your whole body in turn making you an Avatar. Not only does this scan your body but it will recognise clothing and your finer features like hair, nose and mouth. At least that’s what they claim. I was able to take this for a trial run and here are my findings.
When I booted up Kinect Me the first warning I got when I went to scan myself was that the lighting in the room was too dark. Not one to be put off easily, I still went ahead and continued. As for hair and facial features, it’s not perfect. Twice I scanned myself and both times it came out with different hair styles. Once you have scanned yourself in, Kinect has you carry out some poses while it takes pictures and record some audio like the cruel robot overlord it is and then uploads the whole thing to Kinectshare.com. Here is something I came up with earlier, and no I don’t have some strange mouth disease, I swear.
Google Eyes is another gadget for Kinect Fun Labs which allows you to scan in your favourite objects and bring them to life. Again, this was available to use straight away so you know I just had to try. While I didn’t have any big fluffy purple monsters lying about my room, I did however have a Splatterhouse mask. Yes I made a digital Splatterhouse mask. It was easy enough although I never got as clear a result as they did at E3.
This was one of the most impressive gadgets, as it allows finger tracking. First you take a snap shot of an image in the background and the foreground. After this using the finger tracking you can draw in the 3D space. I have to say this is awesome and could give developers some fresh ideas for gaming. Unfortunately this was not available to play.
Build A Buddy
This is essentially Google eyes but with a whole host of more options to choose from and give your buddy a personality. As with Google Eyes, you scan an object in just as you would, but then here comes the changes. There are a plenty of choices as well depending on what type of personality you give them and options include crazy, cool, bouncy, brainy, serious, silly and so forth. Your next step is to give them a voice, which is where you repeat back some phrases, again depending on your Buddies personality. They can include phrases like ‘cowabunga’, ‘Heeeerrreeesss!
Now as good and as fun as this all is, there are some drawbacks. If like me, you have Kinect setup in your room and/or you don’t have adequate lighting, then it’s not going to work very well. Also I find it seems to have problems scanning in small objects. I tried scanning in my Vanquish figure – maybe just a bit too demanding- and this was the end result.
Next up we have Bobblehead, which as the name suggests, transforms you into a BobbleHead. This again showcases the Kinect facial and voice recognition and was actually the gadget that worked best for me. All you need to do is pose for a quick shot, select a costume from a list including rocker, baseball, fairy, Elvis style hair etc. Once that’s done, do a pose and there you have your own Bobblehead! Here is two I created with the gadget.
Remember all the news that Microsoft were implementing facial expressions to your avatar via Kinect? Well Kinect Fun Labs is where you will find the gadget that does this, however at this time the gadget is not available to download but be sure to keep looking on the Sticktwiddlers website where we will keep you posted.
So there you have it, a whole new and rather amusing world of Kinect is now available to you. While the gadgets so far do have their own Kinect related limitations, and you almost need perfect lighting to get the best result, it does show what path Kinect can take in the future where game development is concerned. You will see features of Kinect – that going by the Pick ‘n’ Mix titles available just now – we thought were not possible or could not be achieved and it seems this year is setting Kinect up for what could be a surprise 2012 for what most gamers are writing off as just another gimmick by finally showing some off some of the features it promised last year.
Have you tried Kinect Fun Labs, if so what are your thoughts?
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