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Microsoft patent estimates person’s age using Kinect

Microsoft Kinect
Microsoft Kinect
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Microsoft's parental control settings based on body dimensions
Microsoft's parental control settings based on body dimensions

A rather clever Microsoft patent made public last week proposes using devices like Microsoft’s Kinect to judge a persons age. Based on the system’s age predictions appropriate content can be served accordingly – a automated parental control system if you will.

According to the patent filing, the “age group of a person in a field of view of the camera can be determined based on metrics of a 3-D body model”. A motion capture device, such as the Kinect, would use body metrics that are “particularly indicative of age group”. These may include metrics such as the ratio of arm length to body height, the ratio of body height to head height or the ratio of head width to shoulder width.

An automated age-bracketing system could be used as part of an intelligent parental control system. Microsoft could automatically restrict access to content like movies or games, adhering to ratings for each individual content types.

Its uses go beyond simple parental controls too. What if content was tailored on-the-fly depending on the changeable age profile of those present in a room, or if a fitness game’s difficulty level was tailored automatically to better suit the player’s age?

The patent application was originally submitted in March 2010 and was made public late last week. The patent is still awaiting approval.

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Darren McCarra
Darren McCarra is co-editor of The Sociable. He has a keen interest in photography, all things mobile, and writing about technology and social media. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.