PrimeSense Provide Project Natal Tech News

Ahead of its final unveiling due to take place in June, Microsoft today announced that PrimeSense will be providing “leading-edge” 3D sensing technology for Project Natal.

We’ve seen tremendous excitement and anticipation for the arrival of ‘Project Natal’ this year,” said Ian Spillinger, Vice President of Xbox 360 hardware. “PrimeSense has delivered an important component to the technology, helping us deliver revolutionary controller-free entertainment experiences in the living room.”

“PrimeSense’s technology enables a paradigm shift in the way people interact with consumer electronic devices. The engagement with Xbox 360 establishes PrimeSense’s position as a leading supplier of 3D-sensing technology,” said Inon Beracha, Chief Executive Officer, PrimeSense. “We are especially honoured to have a partner like Microsoft who share our vision for bringing innovative and engaging natural experiences to consumers.”

“Xbox 360 Hardware Engineering teams developed the ‘Project Natal’ sensor based on the PrimeSensor™ reference design to support the special requirements of ‘Project Natal,’” said Aviad Maizels, president and founder, PrimeSense.

We took a look at what the PrimeSensor reference design entails.  Essentially it serves as the sensor component, which observes the scene by flooding the environment with IR light and generating a depth image of the scene.  An image speaks a 1000 words, so take a look at the embedded image from PrimeSense’s website.

Information from PrimeSense suggests the technology relies extensively on a processor, the PS1080 SoC, which controls the infrared light source to decipher and produce a depth image of the scene, i.e. you playing the game, in conjunction with an off-the-shelf CMOS sensor. 

The strange thing about this is that Natal’s internal processor was reportedly removed from the final specification, leaving us to question how this handles this without custom hardware.

TVG has reached out to Microsoft for a comment on this, but we don’t really expect a response.  Today’s announcement does however reaffirm the Christmas 2010 release for Natal.

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