At a public lecture hosted by Melbourne University's Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society, Microsoft's Craig Mundie gave one of the first public demonstrations of Avatar Kinect after its initial debut at CES 2011.
During his talk on the topic of natural user interfaces called "More Like Us: Computing Transformed", Craig summarized NUI as computing without the learning curve.
To help illustrate an example of a more natural telepresence experience for more than two people, Craig demo the upcoming Avatar Kinect service with a staff from the university with a walkthrough of some of the stages and seating set ups as well.
Looking to the future, Craig suggested one day avatars could be photorealistic but raises questions about whether we would actually want them.
For e.g., in bandwidth-limited environments like mobile which could one day also have depth sensors built in alongside the camera, charactures present significant advantages as it only requires highly efficient voice and animation data streams.
Finally, Craig anticipates huge uptake of the Kinect Research Development Kit to be released in the "coming months". Compared to the "Kinect hacks", Craig comments it abstracts many of the higher level functions into libraries including the array microphone to encourage people to explore the wide apps of the technology. A separate commercial-oriented professional development kit is also on schedule soon after.