Ever heard of something called Project Natal? If not, you will probably start being swarmed with news and updates about this invention for a while to come, if you’re at all into the world of gaming or technology. Recently at Microsoft’s E3 Expo, Legendary Hollywood mega-director/producer Steven Spielberg helped unveil a new motion-capture gaming technology known as Project Natal (pronounced “nuh-tall”).

Project Natal, created and developed by Microsoft, allows X-Box 360 gamers to control what is happening on-screen by using just their bodies, relieving the need for any sort of controller as the Nintendo Wii currently employs.

The Project Natal technology is basically a box that sits beneath your TV and is effectively a camera combined with an advanced motion detector and depth sensor, plus a microphone. Amongst other things, Project Natal recognizes full body movements (including individual fingers), and is able to detect who is standing in front of it. That means there will be no need to even log in to separate profiles, as it will do that for you by simply letting it see you.

Even though Project Natal sounds a bit like a more advanced version of Sony’s EyeToy for the Playstation 2, it certainly sounds very cool. Technology really has come far in just a few decades – the next thing you know, machines will be ruling the earth. I wonder if Microsoft is part of a larger company known as Cyberdyne…

Spielberg was one of the people helping unveil Project Natal at the E3 Expo, the reason being that he is (unknown to a lot of people) a bit of a gaming geek. We can only speculate as to why Spielberg helped introduce one of the latest examples of what Microsoft is doing, but I would guess it’s because he wanted to get involved in some way with a technology that brings the movie and gaming world even more close together.

Just in case you want to see Project Natal in action, you can check out the following video of it:

For more technical/description information on Microsoft’s Project Natal, you can head over to Yahoo News as well as the official Xbox website.

This Project Natal motion-capture technology is along the same vein as what Spielberg is doing with Tintin at the moment, as well as what fellow blockbuster filmmaker James Cameron is doing with the upcoming Avatar. Spielberg’s experience with big-budget, special effects blockbusters like War of the Worlds, Jurassic Park, and the aforementioned Tintin, certainly makes him a good candidate to get involved with Project Natal. The world of the movies, as far as technology goes, is improving on a day-to-day basis, and it looks like the gaming world is catching up fast with the likes of Project Natal.

The technology of Project Natal may also be beneficial as a direct tie-in to the world of movies. As you may know, Spielberg is currently working alongside Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson on Tintin (Spielberg is directing the first movie, with Jackson producing – vice versa for the sequel). And back in 2006, Jackson signed a deal with Xbox to create what was described at the time as, “a new form of interactive entertainment.”

As fellow Screen Rant writer Rob Keyes asks, is the fact that both Spielberg and Jackson are involved together with motion capture in the world of movies, as well as new forms of interactive gaming entertainment (specifically with Microsoft’s X-Box and innovative tech for it) just some sort of coincidence? It seems like more than just a coincidence to me, and it sounds like there’s a plan set for somewhere down the line that ties this Project Natal technology (and the currently unknown project(s) that Jackson signed a deal with Xbox for – could they be one and the same?) with the world of movies.

Just imagine the possibilities…

What do you think about this new Project Natal motion-capture technology that Spielberg helped unveil? Do you think both Spielberg and Jackson being involved with this type of technology is just a coincidence or is there something more to it that could benefit the world of movies?

Sources: Yahoo, Empire, BBC and Xbox