Monday, August 3, 2009


Meet Milo, a completely digital boy who can recognize human faces, voices and emotions. Developed by Peter Molyneux and his team at the digital game creator, Lionhead Studios, Milo represents the latest in human-machine interaction technology—a big step in artificial intelligence that will not just revolutionize computer gaming. It's also sure to influence the way people communicate across the metaverse—as well as offline.

Molyneux told the Webzine Eurogamer during the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo, where Milo was first unveiled, that the digital boy represents Lionhead's—and Microsoft's—efforts to push the boundaries of artificial intelligence. "The first thing we did was go round [to speak with] all the Microsoft people—the handwriting recognition people, the facial recognition people, the motion recognition people [involved in developing new upgrades for the Xbox 360]," Molyneux said. "We brought the technology together and put it in there. ...Milo can recognize what you're wearing. If he notices you've got dark bags under your eyes, he will say, 'You look tired today.'"

Milo is part of Project Natal—the code name for "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for the Xbox 360. The add-on peripheral lets users control and interact with the Xbox 360 without a game controller, but rather through gestures, spoken commands, and presented objects and images. A release date has yet to be announced for the upgrade, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the technology will be incorporated into a new Xbox 360, due for release some time in 2010.

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