You may remember a short while back a news article I wrote up and posted regarding Kinect's alleged ability to read and interpret sign language owing to a patent application filed by Microsoft.
Unfortunately, this turns out to be untrue. Speaking to Kotaku
, Microsoft explained that Kinect will not be shipping with support for this feature:
We are excited about the potential of Kinect and its potential to impact gaming and entertainment. Microsoft files lots of patent applications to protect our intellectual property, not all of which are brought to market right away. Kinect that is shipping this holiday will not support sign language
Kotaku claim to have had contact with sources close to the development of Kinect who insist that initially, this would have been possible. The sources claim that during initial development cycles for Kinect, Microsoft planned to use a higher resolution camera. However, in order to reduce the cost to manufacture and sell Kinect the quality of the camera was reduced for the final build meaning that the ability to identify individual digits was lost.
The fact that Microsoft's statement is a case of 'never say never', could lead some to speculate that this is something Microsoft intends to look into further in the future pending the success of Kinect's initial launch this year.