Vaunted science magazine Popular Science got to check out Project Natal at CES, and has posted its own take on the project over on its site. While most of the coverage we've seen of Microsoft's motion controller has been from the gaming press, Pop Sci comes at it from a software engineering perspective. Essentially, Microsoft is trying to build a sophisticated AI that can look at video of what you're doing in front of a camera, and translate that to information the game can use.
To accomplish that, the coders behind Natal took lots and lots of reference pictures and videos, and they're still "teaching" the software what it looks like when you try to hit a soccer ball or wave at Milo. It's fascinating stuff -- thirty "guesses" per second at your body's location and movement based on what the computer "knows" about what bodies look like and how they move, and lots of calculations based on that data. Hopefully by the time it's supposed to release later this year, Natal will have figured out what it looks like when we melee with a battle rifle.