You may remember Microsof Research's Principal Software Architect Ivan Tashev from previous Channel 9 videos. It's Ivan's job to make sure every audio device from Microsoft sounds as perfect as possible. He spends much of his time testing every nuance of our audio components within the total silence of one of our anechoic chambers. These rooms, encased in concrete and sitting on giant steel springs hold the delicate mesh trampoline suspended in the middle of the room where silence is most often disturbed by stomachs hungry for lunch.
It is in this room that prototypes from Microsoft Research begin their life listening for cues from a halo of speakers pivoting around a robotic arm. RoundTable, the first Kinect, and most recently the Kinect for Xbox One all passed through this room. Ivan tells us the new Kinect is acoustically far more complicated than past devices, "The depth camera is now separated from the microphone array, and that affects the performance of the microphones and the acoustical performance of the device.... everything is on a higher level, with tougher requirements, with way -- way -- stronger criteria for release and for how the audio, the acoustics, and the entire audio system should work. We improved a lot. We have improved algorithms in the audio pipeline, better parameters."