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Kinect can't read sign language

Kinect can't read sign language

Microsoft has revealed that Kinect will not be able to read sign language, due to low camera resolution.

Microsoft has rubbished rumours that Kinect will be able to read sign language, which were sparked yesterday after a patent for such a system was spotted online.

Kinect will definitely not support sign language recognition in any way, a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku - at least, for now anyway.

"Microsoft files lots of patent applications to protect our intellectual property, not all of which are brought to market right away. Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language."

According to other sources cited by Kotaku the reason that Kinect can't read sign language is a technological one - the camera resolution is just too low to easily recognise individual fingers or follow their complicated movements at speed.

In fact, in our go with Kinect we found it occasionally even had trouble plotting the movement of limbs - check our Kinect first impressions to find out more.

It's not all bad news for those who communicate in sign language however - Valve is still said to be researching similar technology for conventional computer games.

Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

17 Comments

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proxess 11th August 2010, 12:24 Quote
Did you know that sign language is usually different in each language? That would make it even more difficult.
CardJoe 11th August 2010, 12:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
Did you know that sign language is usually different in each language? That would make it even more difficult.

I did. There are not only different languages, but many people fail to realise how diverse the languages are and how, like any linguistic or communicative device, they naturally evolve through use. Thus, there are also different dialects, accents, slang and even diglossic elements within the various sign language communities.
cgthomas 11th August 2010, 12:45 Quote
wasn't Kinect also marketed as a product to help disabled children? To interact with autistic and deaf children?
What use is it otherwise if it'll just work like an EyeToy?
r3loaded 11th August 2010, 15:04 Quote
Well, I hope it can recognise the sign language that players will give it after experiencing its immense input lag.
rickysio 11th August 2010, 16:01 Quote
Quote:
Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language.

In other words "Kinect that is shipping next holiday will support sign language."
EvilMerc 11th August 2010, 16:03 Quote
Being unable to keep up with individual movements. Fair enough.
Not having a camera with a high enough resolution to make out individual fingers. Just how low a resolution do you need for that!? My god damn EyeToy could do better!
Nexxo 11th August 2010, 16:29 Quote
The idea of any computer being able to make sense of sign language is laughable. They can barely parse typed sentences meaningfully. Spoken word is just about getting there, but only for brief unambiguous instructions.

Sign language is incredibly complex. As CardJoe says, it differs not only across nations, but also regions and generations. Although to signing people of different countries can understand each other fairly well (many signs have visually descriptive and intuitive roots) there is also specific idiom, metaphor, contraction, dialect and new made-up-on-the-spot-for-ease-of-conversation sign.
Bob1234 11th August 2010, 16:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMerc
Being unable to keep up with individual movements. Fair enough.
Not having a camera with a high enough resolution to make out individual fingers. Just how low a resolution do you need for that!? My god damn EyeToy could do better!

Its not that it cant recognise fingers, its that it cant recognise them easily.

Its probably a combination of resolution, focal distance and processing speed.

Its like head tracking, it doesnt follow your head, it follows your eyes or nose, but not the head as a whole.
borandi 11th August 2010, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickysio
Quote:
Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language.

In other words "Kinect that is shipping next holiday will support sign language."

Why, that's the Apple policy. Why bring out a product that does everything this year, when we can stretch it out over 8 years and make people buy a new one each year.
do_it_anyway 11th August 2010, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r3loaded
Well, I hope it can recognise the sign language that players will give it after experiencing its immense input lag.

:D
I actually laughed at this.
+1 rep for r3loaded
Tulatin 12th August 2010, 01:42 Quote
This is your Virtual Boy, Microsoft.
jian5 12th August 2010, 06:32 Quote
Kinect will definitely not support sign language recognition in any way, a Microsoft spokesperson told Kotaku - at least, for now anyway.
Mister_X 12th August 2010, 11:30 Quote
Microsoft not offering a feature they didn't advertise it would have. Shocking stuff.
Cool_CR 13th August 2010, 01:05 Quote
Well i would bash but i cannot understand it either. Maybe semaphore will be it cannot possibly miss the flags.
lilreaper88 16th August 2010, 09:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMerc
Being unable to keep up with individual movements. Fair enough.
Not having a camera with a high enough resolution to make out individual fingers. Just how low a resolution do you need for that!? My god damn EyeToy could do better!

Apparently they actually had to downgrade the camera that they used for i don't what reason, but originally I think it was able to understand some form of Sign language dilect though it would be impossible for it to know all forms as their are more forms of signing than there are of spoken languages.
Synikal Ali 7th September 2010, 16:59 Quote
well, we wouldnt want microsoft to work too hard for the sheer amount of cash these things are gonna make em would we?
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