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Microsoft patents parental controls using Kinect

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Microsoft has been granted a patent on a means to regulate what content can be shown using a Kinect-like interface.

Though Kinect is not specifically mentioned in the patent, it concerns a "content presentation system" which makes use of technology present in Kinect like an RGB imaging camera and depth camera.

Slim Xbox 360
A leaked image of what appears to be the Kinect 2 dev tool


The system can allow media providers, such as television networks or film studios, to put restrictions on their content.

For example, the sensor could detect a user's age for age-restricted content, a specific user, or the number of times a user has watched the content.

The patent also includes the possibility of detecting how many people are watching, and charging an additional fee per viewer or over a certain number.

The current Kinect sensor has limitations that would hamper what is described in the patent. Its ability for facial and age recognition is not entirely precise, and there is a limit to the number of users it can detect at one time.

However, rumours have suggested that Microsoft is developing new Kinect 2.0 hardware with improved accuracy to detect clothing patterns and individual fingers on a hand.

Kinect 2.0 is expected to integrate with Microsoft's next Xbox console, which is rumoured for a release in late 2013 or early 2014 due to manufacturing difficulties.

Earlier this year a series of leaked documents suggested a range of features for the next Xbox, including Kinect 2.0, 3D glasses codenamed Fortaleza and the long-rumoured Xbox TV.

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