The original Kinect was a huge success for Microsoft and proved to be as versatile as it was useful, even for applications not even remotely connected to gaming. The number of research projects spurred on by the original Kinect sensor was impressive to say the least. And the new Kinect sensor included with the Xbox One is better in a number of ways.
As we mentioned earlier, the new Kinect sensor does not have any motors or moving parts. The 1080p camera in the device has a wide field of view and has active infra-red sensors, which essentially enable the Kinect to see in the dark. The new Kinect sensor also features a faster, more accurate time-of-flight camera, which vastly reduces motion blur. Time-of-flight cameras act somewhat like range-finders, and can resolve distance based on light measurements. The ToF camera in the new Kinect has a shutter speed of 14ms, which is a big improvement over the original’s 65ms.
Kinect 2.0 also has a more accurate Microphone array, with better noise isolation.
In practice, we found the new Kinect sensor to react to gestures and motions much faster and more accurately than the original Kinect. Simply reaching your hand out and “grabbing” something on-screen is infinitely better on the Xbox One than it was on the Xbox 360. There is simply no comparison.
The Kinect 2.0 enables a wide array of system commands, which can be invoked via voice control. The chart above lists all of the commands available, which include simple things like powering the Xbox One on or off, launching or snapping apps, invoking the Game DVR function, and simple navigation (scrolling up, down, etc.). There are also app-specific voice controls for things like Skype and the TV app, and we presume as new apps are released for the Xbox One, they too will offer similar controls.