Xbox One wins Popular Mechanic's Breakthrough Award for 2013

Breakthrough Awards

Microsoft’s Xbox One can use its Kinect sensor to see in the dark by using Infrared technology, it can count the fingers on your hands, and detect your heartbeat as you dance to your favorite song. According to Popular Mechanics, these and other qualities are enough to award the Xbox One as one of the Top 10 Breakthrough Products of 2013.

James Meigs, Editor in Chief of Popular Mechanics, commented on the award saying that “each year’s recipients are awe-inspiring as they shape our future through life-changing ideas and innovative products”. Whether you are a fan of Microsoft’s Xbox One or not, it must be noted that the hardware within Kinect 2 and the ability to naturally interact with the console is astonishing.

You can pick up the latest copy of Popular Mechanics on October 15th to check out full list of breakthrough products. Microsoft will also be present at an award ceremony in New York City this October 22nd.

Xbox One’s Kinect sensor – an awesome breakthrough or over-hyped technology?

Source: Popular Mechanics; via Microsoft


Reader comments

Xbox One wins Popular Mechanic's Breakthrough Award for 2013


Kinect is more than just gaming, has functions of Logitech harmony remote ($150). On the gaming side Kinect will allow motion capture (project spark) so you can create your own animations. Allows audio capture (project spark) so you can add voice. Will know when you're being loud to send more zombies your way(dr3), issue voice commands to get your Ai controlled teammates to do things (bf4, cod, ryse). Look on either side of your cockpit (forza), lean over walls for better view (bf4), check your heart rate when working out(Xbox fitness) and well as impact of each move, cast spells(Skyrim...and that's Kinect 1 and it made Skyrim so much nicer..if it had mod support u would've given up on PC Skyrim) the implementation has been subtle so far but the little things that make the experience better are enough to make Kinect worthwhile. As for big things D4 supposedly has a rly good implementation but we won't know until it's out.

edit: to add on, when the controller is passed to another player Kinect recognizes them and switches to their profile with their settings...button layout and inversion on camera are the biggest annoyances and having those fixed as the controller is passed alone is worth the Kinect. Also voice switching of apps and games. Being able to come in a room and say "Xbox on" "play killer instinct" while I make a sandwich is going to be awesome

... not to mention voice and motion media control, searching, source switching, chanel changing, automatic user management (login, add new player)...
I don't see why it couldn't be used as a remote video sensor / alarm for when you're away from home, with intelligence to identify your pets and work in complete darkness... send a video feed to your phone.

I mean.. with all the R&D they put into this thing, and the fact they are including it for essentially 100.00 is an absolute bargain.  No wonder Sony would never bundle their camera at 450.00, it would be an embarrasment. Kinect 2 outclasses any consumer tech on the market.  Handily.


Too bad the gaming community just doesn't understand this potential. Hopefully the nongaming will enjoy the Kinect features. I know I will, gaming it not.

lol... im sure you have missed and not even tried to find about it.
do you know something called "Project Spark"? or it was my imagination when they said and already shown on twitch stream how kinect 2 is going or plan to be used?...
please shutup if you cant take 5 minutes to research a little... I know most people are stupid on internet, but you know, you should try to avoid that. because Project Spark isnt the only one using kinect 2.
also Kinect its not only about games, its about the system, thats why its incluided in every Xbox One. it will be more than games... you know, the console hasnt been even released, there are alot of games to be announced that might use kinect, I mean its not like you can read the future... if you cant even try to see how many games have kinect 2 support, Im sure you dont see the future.

No need to insult him, maybe he genuinely didn't know or maybe he's not impressed by what he's seen so far. Look at the 2 other replies and see how we replied without insult.

Dude, you can use Kinect 2.0 for in-home motion capture for the creation of games and machinima.  The moment the Project Spark guys [Team Dakota] showed off the use of Kinect 2.0 for full 3D motion capture (including facial capture), and they showed it off actually using those features in-game, was the moment I plunked down money to pre-order the Xbox One.  
Sony talks a big talk about what PS4 can do, but everything PS4 can do, Sony just ripped off from Xbox 360 and the failed OnLive startup.  You can't really call it next generation, when all the tech has been in play THIS generation.   And don't get me wrong, I'm going to buy a PS4 too - eventually; I own both a 360 and a PS3.  But even despite the fact that I intend to own both consoles again next gen, does not mean I am so deluded, and out of touch with the real tech happening in the world, to be fooled into believing that the PS4 has anything going for it that could truly be called "next gen", than just prettier graphics than PS3.  I mean, that is really all PS4 is: a prettier PS3, that copied all of it's "innovations" from Microsoft and OnLive.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I mean, it still plays games, right.  But so long as people do not try to pretend the PS4 is anything other than that, I'm cool. 
There's a reason why, out of thousands of products to hit shelves this year, the Xbox One made the list (of only ten products) at Popular Mechanics.  And to be honest with you, do not be surprised to see the Xbox One win a ton of other awards for it's vast amounts of innovations - awards handed about from both the gaming sector, as well as the general tech sector overall, and even popular media as they finally get their hands on the finished product.  And don't be surprised not to see PS4 garnering many, if any of these awards.  Almost everything that Sony is doing with PS4, either Microsoft, or OnLive won awards for those innovations, years ago . . . you know, back when those things were actually innovative, and not merely copied by Johnny come lately.  Just sayin'.  Don't be shocked when 'best of' and 'most innovative' awards start piling up lop-sided in Xbox One's favor

I use Kinect all the time right now, and not for gaming. Kinect 2 will be used more in lots of features including multitasking and tv support. Anyone who thinks Kinect (even first one) is only for gaming knows nothing about it.

If I could afford it, I would buy an XB1 over the PS4.  I'm not getting either though,lol, stuck with my "crappy" old 360.  I'm sure by the time I manage to finish Arkham Origins, the price will drop, and the next gen Arkham game will be out!  My 18 month old takes most of my time up anyways now.  Better than any Kinect for realistic interaction.

Neat technology. Now, if we can attach the house to the Xbox to be able to say "Computer, Lights," then I'd be happy.

Believe it or not, I genuinely thought they would do this for launch. I still do think they will do something like this at some point.

Until the hardcore gamers had their meltdown, there was genuine enthusiasm for the Xbox One for its non-gaming functionality.

I too think it is only a matter of time before someone like ADT grabs an Xbox One and creates a security system that can recognize whether or not someone is an intruder without the need of a keypad.

And stuff like that.

I think the intruder bit would be real tough to pull off, just because intruders and friends that the Xbox has not met before will look the same, but interesting thought. What I was hoping for is a connected house, all via the Xbox. Think of having a baby monitor that you could "snap" to the side of the screen or flick to every now and then. Or a front door camera; you hear the door bell, and say "Xbox, front door", hey presto, you can view the image. Personal CCTV, same thing. Heating systems, lights could all benefit.

Considering that app development is very similar to win8 it shouldn't be too hard to create an app and accessory combo to do such tasks. Maybe even create apps for existed (Logitech has apps for their security cameras for IOS and android)

You can!!! Codeacademy.com is a good place to start, shows you how to do webapps and can go from there...out the of the languages available python is a good place to start. Learning other languages becomes easy once you grasp one

Ha ha, the only thing I am missing is time. Got so much in. I will take a look at that code academy though.

Ideas are extremely powerful.  If you have great ideas you can always find some developer(s) to create it (assuming that it isn't impossible :))

Not really as hard as you may think. Since the One has an always on connection, ADT or some other home security company could just implement a security mode for the app. Example, when security mode can be set, when no one is home. That would solve the issue of person recognition.

Typing this from my phone, so forgive the cut off ideas. But, what I was trying to say is, with a security mode, the facial recognition would set off an alert to the security company, if some one entered the home that the Kinect or its proxy sensors do not recognize, an alert would be sent after the first 30sec to a minute. Depending on what the owner has it se to, and the app has to be deactivated properly. If the power or internet is disconnected, the owner has the option to set the app to automatically send an alert to the company and the can attempt to call the owner. There is more to this idea, but you get my point. It can be done and done well.

...and that's why the Xbone is an entertainment console and more, not just limited to gaming. That's awesome!

PS4 fans are going to be pissed.

Everyone seems to be rooting for the PS4, but I honestly think that, ultimately, Xbox One will come out on top. The PS4 is likely going to get more initial sales, but with time, I think people are just going to see the Xbox One is an overall, better, more fluid and seamless experience.

I think what will happen is that most gamers will end up with both but will use the xbox one more because of all the things it can do outside of gaming. The casual gamer will be what will drive xbox one sales past the ps4 in the long term. They will definitely be interested in all the none game uses.  What Microsoft need to do is make sure all those none hames uses are available in Europe and Asia. I believe at launch, countries outside the US won't have all the functionalitythey showed in teh demo. 

I think that is why they reduced the number of launch countries, so they could get as much of the functionality as possible at launch.

Well, PS4 fans got pissed when President Obama mention an Xbox in his speech.  Nevertheless, I think the Kinect will ONLY take off when a truly good developer makes a game thats really shows the true bueauty of Kinect 2 with the Xbox One graphics potential.   Will be getting a PS4 at lauch but know I will play the X1 more just like last time.

I think the big piece that some people aren't considering is how many non-gamers will be drawn towards the XBox One. My dad will never play video games but definitely wants an XBox One for its home entertainment value.

Technologically, the Xbox One looks amazing in what it can do. Whether the marketplace will respond to this innovation is anyone's guess, but irrelevant in this regard.

How do people missing digits or limbs play Kinect? Will there be control mapping for Kinect movements with Xbox One so disabled persons can work around their disability?

I've been meaning to try that on a relative, actually. For him, he can't play games specifically because a hand is missing, but I've been curious how a Kinect would react to him, since he likes video games but can't play them.

That's a great point. In fact if you look beyond games you realise the potential for Kinect to help disabled folk on all manner of things from communication, home automation, security & more beyond. The level of independence that could bring to someone could be invaluable.

If anything the Kinect 2 is under hyped. It completely changes everything and has a ton of potential. In 10 years business students will be studying hoe Microsoft won the console wars by having the foresight to bundle in the Kinect.

Under hyped only because of the Kinect conspiracy folks. I totally love that it can see and hear waiting for my commands.

MS does need to start ramping up the xbox/kinect advertising soon. The fitness ad and NFL ads are a good start, but they need to hit it hard.

Sir, the PS3 has better specs than the X360, but we all know how far specs can go. Its the OS that actually drives the machines to the future.

Ps3 had far better specs and PlayStation network is free and people still preferred the Xbox cause of paid Xbox live. I despise PlayStation controller, and there like Samsung there copycats, PlayStation move was like putting a glowing ball on wiimote and the ps4's camera is a Kinect version 1.7.

Because of the paid aspect, the PSN went down and Sony didn't make as much money it could have, which would have helped this generation of their console.

Can..not..wait! I am just curious when I will actually get it. I preordered about three weeks ago through the ms site. I will make sure the money is in the account as of the release date though.

I am eager to see what Devs can do with the Kinect 2.  I really want to see either an HD update to Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem or a new installment.  Really any game from the horror genre would benefit from this.  Also could be fun to have a Metal Gear Solid remake with Psycho Mantis reading your pulse.  It brings a level of immersion into play that hasn't really been seen yet, if used properly.  Its not the end of game immersion but it will be interesting to see what happens in the generation following.

Regardless of what one things, it's a breakthrough in technology. It's not practical for the hardcore CoD/BF players, no. It has so much more potential than being pidgeon holed into one thing. Motion sensing tech isn't going away so, might as well embrace it and figure out what we can do with it. :)
P.S. I didn't even mention the voice stuff, the heat sensing and so on.  Yes, I'm pretty excited about it and the future of motion sensing tech. :)

I gotta add one more thing. I'd love to have the ability to rename the AI that is kinect. Imagine telling Jarvis to start your movie and it replies with "Yes sir, Mr/Mrs X". It's late. I'm going to bed. :P

Having spoken to people in the industry who have used both consoles, most  said they preferred the Xbox One to the PS4

I wonder how well it will be able to control other consoles with HDMI pass through. Would also be nice if I could use Kinect 2 for the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One. I would be pretty ecstatic if 360 games were ported through the One. Otherwise, I'll need to figure out where to put both of the Kinect sensors. I really need to set up a gaming room for my daughter and set up another zone through the receiver. I've already spent $1200 plus the console just to get ready for the Xbox One and I expect that to go up by the time its all said and done. My Logitech Harmony is on its last leg so the sooner it gets here, the better.

I'm also interested in performance benchmarking not just arm chair analysis. Recent feedback from the Xbox One engineering team suggests that the actual performance for both consoles is much closer than high level analysis would suggest.

I've said this many times, as a Win Phone user, there's no point in me buying a Sony console and getting zero support for it. They've already announced apps for ios and android, f**k Sony.

Unfortunately some so called "hardcore" gamers don't understand that Kinect works with hardcore games too in ways that are cool. Having your character intuitively dodge or duck if you happen to do it yourself while playing the game brings that extra immersion that and playability that can't be done on another system. You don't have to think about it. It just works. I'm getting the Xbox One at launch. It will be fun.

I am a PS3 fan and have not had an xbox since my red ring of death showed up.....................I will be switching to Xbone. The only way ps4 beats xbone is microsoft not informing customers its in a whole other world as far as capabilities...........xbox fitness........i live in maine this is what i will be doing for exercise over the winter i wont even have to wear my heart rate monitor. Anyways even if PS4 gets off to a better start because of miss information xbox will win.

Microsoft needs to take the idea of an tech ecosystem to another level. Imagine your smart phone, car, computer, tablet, watch, and home all connected by the AI Cortana. She can advise you when when someone walks to your door and warn you if someone who she doesn't recognize is in your house. Tell Cortana through your watch to turn on climate control in your vehicle or start it to warm up on a cold morning. Microsoft needs to make this before Apple or somebody does... And they need to make this gooood.

Or at least give cryptic detail about it so they can jump on it first without cluing other companies about their plans.
I wish I could talk to a Microsoft executive and see why they aren't doing that.