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iFixit digs into Microsoft Kinect's guts

The DIY repair site takes Microsoft's Kinect apart piece by piece and discovers several interesting components, including four microphones and three cameras.

Microsoft Kinect
Microsoft Kinect
Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Microsoft's Kinect motion-gaming peripheral, which launched yesterday, has already been torn apart by the folks over at iFixit, who have revealed some rather interesting components inside the device.

iFixit, a DIY repair site, was apparently quite surprised by what is packed into the relatively small Kinect. The site said the device boasts so many built-in sensors, that only the Pleo dinosaur robot comes close to matching it. And due to how "mechanically complex" the device is, iFixit believes it was "clearly designed by a team accustomed to designing large hardware, like the Xbox."

Aside from a slew of sensors, iFixit found four microphones in the Kinect. The device includes two infrared cameras for "depth detection" and "one standard visual-spectrum camera used for visual recognition."

Microsoft's Kinect in pieces, thanks to iFixit.
Microsoft's Kinect in pieces, thanks to iFixit. iFixit

In addition, the Kinect boasts a motor and a three-axis accelerometer "to increase the accuracy of the panning motor."

But it os the Kinect Prime Sense PS1080-A2 that makes the device work. According to iFixit, the Kinect's sensors are connected to the Prime Sense PS1080-A2 to be processed "before transmitting a refined depth map and color image to the Xbox."

Overall, iFixit gave the Kinect a 6 out of 10 for "repairability," saying that fixing the Kinect without a service manual "will be quite a challenge."

Microsoft's Kinect launched yesterday to much fanfare. For now, the device is still available in some locations, but how long before it's sold out is anyone's guess. Microsoft expects to sell 5 million Kinect units by year's end amid its competition in the motion-gaming space with Sony's PlayStation Move and the Nintendo Wii.