Kinect update to recognise finger gestures, say sniggering insiders

Microsoft is rumoured to be working on better video-compression technology to enable its Kinect motion controller to detect if you're giving it the bird.

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Microsoft is looking to improve the resolution of its Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360 so it can recognise finger gestures, according to insiders. The move could enable much more realistic motion-controlled games.

Gaming site Eurogamer spoke to sources at the company who claim to be working hard on increasing the amount of data the controller's camera can transmit to the console every second. They hope to quadruple the resolution available so that it can perceive a much higher level of detail in your movement.

Kinect currently transmits a 320x240-pixel image 30 times per second. If better compression means that resolution is increased to 640x480 pixels, the Xbox could begin to detect a finer level of detail, such as finger movement and rotation.

The bottleneck at the moment isn't the camera but rather the USB controller interface, which is capable of 35MBps, but currently uses less than half that, according to Eurogamer. If Microsoft can improve its efficency, it would have more data per second to play around with, either for larger images or a greater frequency.

This could be rolled out relatively simply via the standard Xbox online update system -- you wouldn't need to buy a new camera.

If the Kinect can harness this extra throughput and interpret the increased data without slowing down, it could create some exciting new possibilities for game developers. Better calibration of limb rotation will help sport sims and fighting games, while seeing what your fingers are doing could enable an Air Guitar Hero, Phoenix Wright-style "Objection!" movements and some admirably detailed obscenities in Grand Theft Auto 5.