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What's Inside Microsoft's Kinect, Anyway?

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 41 comments

It's been a Kinect-filled few days and it's not going to stop today.

Just as new users were settling in to play with Microsoft's latest Xbox 360 accessory, iFixit was tearing their unit apart. What? Someone's gotta do the dirty work around here.

This is slightly more interesting than most of the gadget teardowns iFixit does because there are not a lot of products like Kinect out there. When it comes to phones, netbooks, laptops and MP3 players, we know what it takes to put a device like that together. However, Kinect is a different story altogether. On Monday, we overheard one guy in line to buy Kinect telling someone, "I don't actually know how it works; I think it runs on magic actually. That sounds right," and we think a lot of people might be in the same boat. Maybe not to that extreme, but you'd probably like to know more about what's inside, right?

Well, here's what iFixit found:

* Four microphones -- a first, according to CEO Kyle Wiens. "We've taken apart binaural devices before, but this is our first quadaural sensor setup!"

* Two cameras (pictured).

* An IR transmitting diode.

* One fan. Wiens says that for a 12-watt device, Microsoft seems very paranoid about heat dissipation and blames this paranoia on the infamous red-ring-of-death problems that have plagued the 360. "This is a good thing for consumers, but we can't help but wonder if they've gone overboard in the cooling department," Kyle said.

* 64 MB of Hynix DDR2 SDRAM.

* A "tiny, diminutive, even" motor (pictured).

* A three-axis accelerometer.

* A Prime Sense PS1080-A2. "Kinect is based on Prime Sense's motion detection technology," explains Kyle. "This chip is the Kinect's brains —– all the sensors are wired into here for processing before transmitting a refined depth map and color image to the Xbox."

So now you know what's inside, why don't you check out the pictures? Click on through to iFixit for the full gallery!


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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2010 12:04 AM
    wow thats quite different to your everyday piece of machinery
  • 10 Hide
    chick0n , November 6, 2010 3:02 AM
    soldier37Some other outdated crap that goes along with the outdated crapbox Im sure. Hope this console fad soon passes PC Gaming FTW.


    you sir are the biggest retard of the day, if not the year.

    I don't even have xbox but i just have to call u that.cuz u deserves it.
  • 10 Hide
    loomis86 , November 6, 2010 1:57 AM
    Accelerometer???

    man that's creepy. What is this thing gonna do, grow legs and start walking around?
Other Comments
    Display all 41 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2010 12:04 AM
    wow thats quite different to your everyday piece of machinery
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , November 6, 2010 12:09 AM
    You should see the inside of a Sega Dreamcast :) (i took one of those apart) thats got allot of stuff crammed in.
  • 7 Hide
    beans4you , November 6, 2010 12:19 AM
    haha yeah, i remember tearing mine apart with a knife, it was dead.. 56k modem! :D 
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 6, 2010 12:52 AM
    Why would this need a 3 axi accelerometer. Dosen't it just sit above your TV watching you and stuff...
  • 5 Hide
    Manos , November 6, 2010 12:55 AM
    ""I don't actually know how it works; I think it runs on magic actually. That sounds right," and we think a lot of people might be in the same boat."

    Its funny cause there is the other side of the coin, with retards and ignorants that keep comparing this with an EyeToy.. lol I do have an EyeToy that its never used. I last hooked it up for trying out my Move on my PS3 but thats about it. I just collect, make my own personal opinion and keep using if worth it. But dont go compare a freaking webcam with Kinect. ffs


    Im Greek so ill be getting mine on the 10th. I know ill laugh my ass off even from looking stupid myself infront of it to just check out the offerings for now and even more when i get others try this out. Personally I know ill enjoy it mostly when the next wave of games and finally some triple A Kinect only games are released for it. By then also hopefully we'll have Kinect use for our PCs too :) 
  • 3 Hide
    reprotected , November 6, 2010 12:58 AM
    That thing has more components than 4 Wiimotes with Motionplus and a Wireless sensor bar.
  • 10 Hide
    kevlardax , November 6, 2010 1:23 AM
    This thing has huge potential for robotics hobbiests.
  • 1 Hide
    existencenow , November 6, 2010 1:47 AM
    I entirely agree with kevlar. with only one contradiction. microsoft would financially rape any company that would want to use these ideas with there giant Lawsuithammer.
  • 10 Hide
    loomis86 , November 6, 2010 1:57 AM
    Accelerometer???

    man that's creepy. What is this thing gonna do, grow legs and start walking around?
  • 4 Hide
    hiruu , November 6, 2010 2:08 AM
    I think this is amazing...I remember some sony drones saying this was just an overhyped eyetoy...lol...yeah, and eyetoy with as more memory and processing power than a Wii. I love my kinect, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something unique in the motion gaming space...it's not revoltuinary (not like the Ipad, wink wink), but it is very unique, and the potential is there to really deliver a experience unlike any. I've played 3 games on it, Fighters Uncaged, Dance Central, and Kineect Adventures, and Dance Central is simply a must try/have title. Even if you're not into dancing, there is something really cool about having an avatar track you so closely. Fighter's Uncaged is pretty good as well, but the tracking isn't anywhere as good as D/C. The bundle software is okay, but as it's no wii sports. Overall, I'm looking forward to what gets released over the next 6 months for Kinect.
  • 1 Hide
    reprotected , November 6, 2010 2:09 AM
    loomis86Accelerometer???man that's creepy. What is this thing gonna do, grow legs and start walking around?

    Not if it has a wrist band. Wait... NVM.
  • 10 Hide
    chick0n , November 6, 2010 3:02 AM
    soldier37Some other outdated crap that goes along with the outdated crapbox Im sure. Hope this console fad soon passes PC Gaming FTW.


    you sir are the biggest retard of the day, if not the year.

    I don't even have xbox but i just have to call u that.cuz u deserves it.
  • 3 Hide
    andrewcutter , November 6, 2010 3:18 AM
    as gamers, we should enjoy what each platform has to provide. if i could i would get the kinect along with everything else
  • -8 Hide
    Maxor127 , November 6, 2010 3:51 AM
    hiruuI think this is amazing...I remember some sony drones saying this was just an overhyped eyetoy...lol...yeah, and eyetoy with as more memory and processing power than a Wii. I love my kinect, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something unique in the motion gaming space...it's not revoltuinary (not like the Ipad, wink wink), but it is very unique, and the potential is there to really deliver a experience unlike any. I've played 3 games on it, Fighters Uncaged, Dance Central, and Kineect Adventures, and Dance Central is simply a must try/have title. Even if you're not into dancing, there is something really cool about having an avatar track you so closely. Fighter's Uncaged is pretty good as well, but the tracking isn't anywhere as good as D/C. The bundle software is okay, but as it's no wii sports. Overall, I'm looking forward to what gets released over the next 6 months for Kinect.

    That's exactly what it is. An overhyped EyeToy. Until I see it play something other than dance games or other "family" games that make you flail around like an idiot, then how is it not like an EyeToy? It's going to at least need extra peripherals to play any serious games. I don't think the shovelware companies are even going to waste time on it.
  • 1 Hide
    Pawessum16 , November 6, 2010 4:52 AM
    Personally, I think a hybrid of the Move and Kinect would be even more awesome (albeit more money). I like the idea of full body tracking, but I also like the idea of something to hold in my hands with buttons and controls. I'm not much of a lazy person, so the thought of actually being able to act out the actions in a first person shooter like throwing grenades, reloading, meleeing ect would be very appealing to me.
  • 0 Hide
    gmarsack , November 6, 2010 4:55 AM
    blueboy01Why would this need a 3 axi accelerometer. Dosen't it just sit above your TV watching you and stuff...

    No, once Skynet comes online and becomes self-aware, it will need to use the accelerometer for basic locomotion.
  • 0 Hide
    brianmoz , November 6, 2010 4:56 AM
    Maxor127That's exactly what it is. An overhyped EyeToy. Until I see it play something other than dance games or other "family" games that make you flail around like an idiot, then how is it not like an EyeToy? It's going to at least need extra peripherals to play any serious games. I don't think the shovelware companies are even going to waste time on it.

    Maxor127That's exactly what it is. An overhyped EyeToy. Until I see it play something other than dance games or other "family" games that make you flail around like an idiot, then how is it not like an EyeToy? It's going to at least need extra peripherals to play any serious games. I don't think the shovelware companies are even going to waste time on it.



    Que portentous gamer
  • 5 Hide
    Khimera2000 , November 6, 2010 5:49 AM
    Maxor127That's exactly what it is. An overhyped EyeToy. Until I see it play something other than dance games or other "family" games that make you flail around like an idiot, then how is it not like an EyeToy? It's going to at least need extra peripherals to play any serious games. I don't think the shovelware companies are even going to waste time on it.


    You are aware that the games are all targeting casual gamers initially right? that the EyeToy is nothing more then a webcam with some softwear behind it lacking the audio, or depth sensing capabilities that is on the K...

    Unfortionately to say that the EyeToy is like the Kinect is like saying my webcam is like the Eyetoy, and in turn like the kinect becaus it to can track my face and i can also play strange games with it... But I am looking forward to your argument on how the EyeToy isint like a normal WebCam supported by vender softwear.
  • 1 Hide
    FloKid , November 6, 2010 6:02 AM
    Kinect, that's what's inside.
  • 5 Hide
    Vladislaus , November 6, 2010 6:51 AM
    Maxor127That's exactly what it is. An overhyped EyeToy. Until I see it play something other than dance games or other "family" games that make you flail around like an idiot, then how is it not like an EyeToy? It's going to at least need extra peripherals to play any serious games. I don't think the shovelware companies are even going to waste time on it.

    Can an eyetoy track the movements of your body in 3d? No. The eyetoy is just a webcam nothing more, nothing less.
    The ps move on the other hand is a complete rip-off of the wii-mote.
    Most of the games on wii are family games. Compare how many consoles nintendo has sold with microsoft and sony.
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