Kinect Fun Labs, a hub for innovative Kinect Gadgets on the Xbox 360, is launching two new experiences this week: Avatar Kinect andKinect Sparkler.Avatar Kinect, available today, lets you – or rather your personalized avatar – interact with or hang out with up to seven other friends in 24 virtual stages ranging from a late-night talk show set to outer space to a sports tailgate party. To make the cyber socializing more real, Kinect’s camera tracks gestures and facial expressions – eyebrow raises, smiles, belly laughs and all.

The video below shows the tech behind Avatar Kinect – tracking facial expressions and voice. When you smile, nod or speak, your avatar does the same. If you have a Kinect, you can go use it now – Avatar Kinect will require an Xbox LIVE Gold membership but to celebrate the release, from July 25 to September 8, all Xbox users (Silver and Gold) can use Avatar Kinect for free.


Avatar Kinect makes all kinds of interactive experiences possible – from hosting virtual events to creating your animated shows to just hanging out virtually with friends. Along with using Avatar Kinect to record monologues, or to chat with friends, there is tremendous potential for bloggers and podcasters to use the gadget as a new platform. When it comes to Kinect, including Avatar Kinect and Sparkler, “it’s about forgetting your inhibitions and letting your funny, creative side out,” Mendhro says.