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What's Inside Microsoft's Kinect, Anyway?

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!

  • wow thats quite different to your everyday piece of machinery
  • nukemaster
    You should see the inside of a Sega Dreamcast :)(i took one of those apart) thats got allot of stuff crammed in.
  • beans4you
    haha yeah, i remember tearing mine apart with a knife, it was dead.. 56k modem! :D
  • Why would this need a 3 axi accelerometer. Dosen't it just sit above your TV watching you and stuff...
  • Manos
    ""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 :)
  • reprotected
    That thing has more components than 4 Wiimotes with Motionplus and a Wireless sensor bar.
  • kevlardax
    This thing has huge potential for robotics hobbiests.
  • existencenow
    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.
  • loomis86

    man that's creepy. What is this thing gonna do, grow legs and start walking around?
  • hiruu
    I think this is amazing...I remember some sony drones saying this was just an overhyped, 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'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.