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Avatar Kinect lets you video chat using your Xbox 360 character

New Avatar Kinect software lets you video chat using your Xbox cartoon. It uses the Kinect sensor bar to track your facial movements -- read on for all the info.

Avatar Kinect, which lets you video chat using your Xbox character, is out now, available as a free download to Xbox 360 owners.

The thinking behind Avatar Kinect is simple. Video chat is fun, but why spend your valuable time staring at real, disgusting humans who are liable to drop their dirty trousers at a moment's notice when you could be interacting with a nice, safe, glassy-eyed cartoon?

Avatar Kinect uses the Kinect system's facial-recognition tech to translate your flappy-lipped gurning and manic arm-waving into on-screen avatar animation. You can chat with other users in 24 themed virtual environments, including a TV chat show set and what looks like some kind of trailer park.

You can record your chatting experiences for posterity, and share them online, showing off your telly-style productions to your buddies. We've embedded a relentlessly chirpy promotional video at the bottom of this story so you can upchuck check it out for yourself.

Until 8 September Avatar Kinect will be available to download for free, but after that date only Xbox Live Gold members will be able to grab it. The download itself is quite chunky at 658.5MB, so you might want to put aside an hour or so to let it install.

Avatar Kinect is part of Kinect Fun Labs, an assortment of quirky experimental minigames and tools that use Microsoft's Kinect sensor bar.

It's good to see these kinds of weird Xbox apps getting an airing, though it sadly reminds us that Google recently shut down its own wacky experimental Labs section to focus on being a grownup, wearing a suit and making loads of money.