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Project Natal, pronounced nuh-tall, is a code name for a revolutionary new way to play, no controller required. See a ball? Kick it, hit it, trap it or catch it. Unlike 2-D cameras and controllers, Project Natal tracks your full body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions, even a difference of emotion in your voice.
When Project Natal is ready, it will work with every Xbox 360 console so people who have never picked up a controller can finally join the fun.
See below for Project Natal 101, a list of terms and concepts to help explain this transformation in home entertainment.
What is Project Natal?
Project Natal (pronounced na-tall) is the code name for the new controller-free gaming and entertainment experience from Xbox 360. The name Project Natal has several sources. Microsoft Corp. traditionally uses cities as code names. As a result, Alex Kipman, who incubated the project and is from Brazil, chose Natal, a city along the northeastern coast of Brazil, as a tribute to his country. In addition, he knew that Natal also means to be born in Latin. Given the new audiences Project Natal will bring to Xbox 360, this felt right.
How Will Project Natal Change the Way I Play?
Controller-free gaming and entertainment. Project Natal provides a whole new way to play — no controller required. It uses a sensor to track your body movement and recognize your face, even listen to your voice. If you know how to move your hands, shake your hips, or speak, you and your friends will be able to jump instantly into any Project Natal experience.
Full-body play. Project Natal provides a new way to play where you use all parts of your body — head, hands, feet and torso. With controller-free gaming you dont just control the superhero, you are the superhero. Full-body tracking allows the Project Natal sensor to capture every move, from head to toe, to give players a full-body gaming experience.
Personalized play. Project Natal provides an in-game experience in which the players face and voice are recognized. Greet and speak to characters in the game, or simply step into view of the sensor to log into Xbox LIVE and connect with friends. Only Project Natal is smart enough to remember voices and faces. Fun has never been so personalized.
Off-the-couch play. Project Natal provides gameplay that gets you off the couch, on your feet and in the fun. Each Project Natal experience is designed to get players moving, laughing, cheering and playing together. Project Natal makes social gaming off-the-couch fun.
Easy-to-play fun. Project Natal makes sharing in the fun a snap. Talk or watch a movie in the same living room or on the other side of the world — no headset, no keyboard and no controllers required. Its just you, your friends, your family and a whole new way to play.
How Does Project Natal Work?
Project Natal sensor. Project Natal is the worlds first system to combine an RGB camera, depth sensor and multiarray microphone running proprietary software that brings Project Natal experiences to every Xbox 360 console. The Project Natal sensor tracks full-body movement and individual voices, creating controller-free fun and social entertainment available only on Xbox 360.
RGB camera. Project Natal has a video camera that delivers the three basic color components. As part of the Project Natal sensor, the RGB camera helps enable facial recognition and more.
Depth sensor. An infrared projector combined with a monochrome CMOS sensor allows Project Natal to see the room in 3-D (as opposed to inferring the room from a 2-D image) under any lighting conditions.
Multiarray microphone. Project Natal has a microphone that will be able to locate voices by sound and extract ambient noise. The multiarray microphone will enable headset-free Xbox LIVE party chat and more.
Microsoft proprietary software layer. A proprietary software layer makes the magic of Project Natal possible. This layer differentiates Project Natal from any other technology on the market through its ability to enable human body recognition and extract other visual noise.