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The iPhone X's 'notch' is powered by the same tech as the Kinect

The tech that let a generation of players fill their living rooms with virtual lava is powering the FaceID feature on the iPhone X.

Alissa McAloon

September 18, 2017

2 Min Read

Thanks to Apple, the same technology that let a generation of players dance and use gestures to interact with games is about to find its way into the pockets of thousands of people worldwide.

The Verge has published an interesting breakdown of how similar the original Kinect is to the tech packed into the ‘notch’ on the recently unveiled iPhone X.

While the iPhone X’s setup is mainly used for facial mapping and FaceID, it’s cool to see how a piece of innovative video game tech has evolved through the years and found its way into an everyday device like a smartphone.

The original Kinect for the Xbox 360 contained an IR emitter, color sensor, IR depth sensor, microphone and a tilt motor. Aside from the tilt motor, the ‘notch’ found at the top of the iPhone X’s screen contains these same elements in some way, shape, or form.

As The Verge points out, that’s largely because PrimeSense, the same Israeli company that created the tech behind the Kinect, was picked up by Apple in 2013. The tech itself has naturally evolved and grown since its days in the Kinect, but the method is largely the same. 

Both pieces of technology use an infrared grid of dots to track depth and movement. For the Kinect, this let it map out your living room and use body movement as input for games, while the iPhone X will use this tech to create detailed scans of a human face and even, in the case of its ‘Animoji’, generate a fully animated 3D mesh of a users face in real time.

For a more in-depth look at how the technology behind both the Kinect and iPhone has evolved throughout the years, take a look at the full breakdown on The Verge

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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