Although it's not actually Kinect, the technology behind the Xbox 360 peripheral is coming to HTPCs, cable companies, and perhaps even HDTVs.
Want the Kinect motion-sensing control but you're just not a fan of the Xbox 360? Here's a bit of good news: the company behind the technology used in Microsoft's upcoming peripheral--PrimeSense--has already signed deals to provide its technology inside Home Theater PCs slated to hit the market by the end of the year. But don't expect the actual Kinect device and its library of games ported to the PC--this will be an all-new, pre-installed system.
According to PrimeSense VP Adi Berenson, one major cable company is already set to launch a gesture-controlled set top box by Summer 2011. Berenson said that the end goal is to provide natural human control over TV-based content. The company is even working to get the technology into actual HDTVs by the end of 2011.
The PrimeSense device that will be used in the HTPCs will be similar to Microsoft's Kinect by using a pair of 640 x 480 camera sensors to track the user's position in 3D space. However the similarities stop there--users won't get voice recognition or motorized tilt functionality, as those ideas belonged to Microsoft and won't be available to manufacturers. Although this defeats any hopes of addressing the computer like crew members using the LCARS interface on the USS Enterprise, Microsoft could possibly integrate voice recognition into Windows 7 at a future date (but that's mere speculation).
PrimeSense said that gesture recognition has evolved since Microsoft went "gold" with Kinect. Unfortunately, there were no indications that PrimeSense would release a standalone kit allowing PC enthusiasts to install the motion-sensing technology on their current machines. The benefits of this type of interaction with the PC could be tenfold--Microsoft may want to consider supporting this type of installation for Windows 7 for both interfacing and playing games.