What's Inside A Kinect?

If the sight of bare printed circuit boards, tangles of wires and exposed chips makes you queasy, best look away from iFixit's new Kinect dissection. But if you want to know exactly whats inside that new hands-free controller, read on.

iFixit dives into the electronic guts of Kinect's sensor and microphone arrays, finding it full of visual sensors and microphones (four of them, actually), plus well ventilated to avoid any costly overheating problems.

Here's the inventory from iFixit, minus screws and other tiny bits.

  • Four microphones. Four! We've taken apart binaural devices before, but this is our first quadaural sensor setup!
  • Two cameras (infrared CMOS and color CMOS) and an IR projector.
  • A fan. For a 12-watt device, Microsoft seems very paranoid about heat dissipation. This is understandable considering the Xbox 360's red-ring-of death problems. This is a good thing for consumers, but we can't help but wonder if they've gone overboard in the cooling department.
  • 64 MB of Hynix DDR2 SDRAM
  • A motor. This motor is nothing to write home about. It's quite tiny. Diminutive, even. So tiny that you might want to make sure you keep Kinect out of your toddler's reach, because forcing it to pan could damage the gears.
  • A three-axis accelerometer. We suspect this is used to increase the accuracy of the panning motor.
  • A Prime Sense PS1080-A2. Kinect is based on Prime Sense's motion detection technology. This chip is the Kinect's brains-all the sensors are wired into here for processing before transmitting a refined depth map and color image to the Xbox.

Microsoft Kinect Teardown [iFixit]