news\ Jun 25, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Xbox Kinect struggles with 'natural conversation'


Everything is better with Kinect...except for natural conversation, which Microsoft Rare developer David Quinn says is something he'd like to explore in future. When it comes to speech recognition, the Kinect is alright. It recognizes words decently, but you have to same them pretty exact and clear for it to pick them up. It doesn't pick up natural speech quite as well.

Quinn, who worked on Kinect Sports and its sequel, is one of the foremost experts in developing engineering solutions for the Xbox peripheral. He's worked on the Kinect since its Project Natal days and has collaborated closely with other first party developers and Microsoft's labs on solutions.

Kinect has made tremendous strides since its release, but the next step, from Quinn's point of view, should be natural speech.

"We pushed speech pretty hard in Sports 2," Quinn said. "But it was also a very say-what-you-see approach; in golf, you change clubs [by saying] 'four iron', kind of thing."

"What I'd like to see and what we're investigating now is a more natural conversation way of talking to the Kinect, so you can say, 'Hey, caddy, give me a five iron,' or 'Hey, caddy, what should I use now?'"

Right now, it feels almost robotic in the way you have to communicate with Kinect. It needs to be short, clear commands. Having a natural kind of flow could help with player interaction with the Kinect and could make it more of an attractive peripheral than it is now.


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