Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Aug 2013 12:58 UTC
Games Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten:

That said, like online, the console will still function if Kinect isn’t plugged in, although you won’t be able to use any feature or experience that explicitly uses the sensor.

The Xbox One used to require Kinect. Now it doesn't. Good move, obviously, but it does raise the question: whatever the hell was this company thinking? Microsoft really seems to have lost all its marbles - Windows 8, Windows Phone, and now Xbox One. Messy, messy, messy.

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however it's still comprised of two cameras.

Right, one for RGB and one for infrared. However, since all depth information comes solely from the infrared camera, you can't "trick" the system by holding up two 2D images of your face. A 3D mask of your face might do the trick.

While you're right that most cameras can see infrared by default, it's not enough to simply remove the infrared filter -- in fact, all the human-visible higher frequency light needs to be filtered out. Otherwise the non-infrared portion of the image would obscure the infrared and it wouldn't be able to properly see the projected infrared light map. In all likelihood it's a monochrome sensor with an infrared band-pass filter on it.

See this video if you want to get a better understand how the Kinect 1 works:

I'm curious what the spacial/temporal resolutions might be on the Kinect 2 sensor. Do you know? I wonder if a simple paper cutout would do the trick.

The Kinext 2's depth resolution is according to various sources either the same or greater than the Kinect 1's 11 bits per pixel (2,048 depth levels), and it will have a framerate of 30fps. However, the width/height resolution has increased from 320x240 to 512x424, plus better optics to support both a wider field of view and support for standing closer to the sensor. They claim to even be able to detect hand posture now, but from what I've seen it's still unreliable; a higher res depth feed would be needed to really tackle that, but then the price and processing power needed would likely skyrocket...

If you're interested in seeing some of the neat tricks the new Kinect has up its sleeve take a look at this video:

As you'll note in the video, the Kinect 2 features (software-based) heart-rate detection based on minute fluctuations in skin color, so it's unlikely that even a 3D mask would be able to trick it (assuming it uses that feature for face authentication).

Edited 2013-08-17 12:49 UTC

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