Xbox Kinect facial recognition not racist says Microsoft

Allegations of prejudice down to lighting conditions

Microsoft has a dream for Xbox Kinect

It's not been an easy climb up the Christmas sales ladder for Microsoft's Kinect, what with reports of the motion-tracking peripheral needing its own unique feng-shui to work properly in your living room. But for all the little niggles, we'd never have gone so far as to call it racist.

The allegations first cropped up on GameSpot, which claimed that during their reviewing process the Kinect had trouble reading the facial expressions of two of its black employees. Kinect apparently recognised the first employee's face "inconsistently" and failed to recognise the second altogether, even though the device worked normally with other GameSpot testers.

Prejudice, then? Well, no, just bad lighting conditions, according to Microsoft, who said in a statement: "Kinect works with people of all skin tones, and just like a camera, optimal lighting is best. Anyone experiencing issues with facial recognition should adjust their lighting settings". Phew.

GameSpot, however, are standing by their statement, with an update to the original article saying that in further tests under different lighting conditions the Kinect still had problems identifying some of their darker-skinned employees. You can read their findings here.

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