Microsoft Building New Version of Kinect For Windows PC

Microsoft has confirmed that a special version of Kinect is in the works for Windows PC. The company's Kinect for Windows Team made the revelation on Tuesday in a blog, reporting that the Windows-specific motion controller will build upon the existing Kinect device for the Xbox 360.

"We have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios," said Kinect for Windows general manager Craig Eiser. "Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for."

According to the blog, the firmware will allow the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision. There will also be a "Near Mode" that will enable a new class of "close up" applications that go beyond the typical living room scenario. Other changes include shortening the USB cable to "ensure reliability across a broad range of computers," and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.

"Another thing we’ve heard from our pilot customers is that companies exploring commercial uses of Kinect want to operate with the assurance of support and future innovation from Microsoft," Eisler added. "As part of Microsoft’s deep commitment to NUI, we designed the Kinect for Windows commercial program to give licensed customers access to ongoing updates in both speech and human tracking (where Microsoft has been investing for years), in addition to providing fully supported Kinect hardware for Windows."

Just recently Microsoft announced the Kinect Accelerator incubator project headed by Microsoft BizSpark. The company will select 10 tech-oriented companies interested in developing Kinect applications by injecting their project with $20,000, office space and other perks. Applications are being accepted now through January 25, 2012, and at the end of the three-month program, each company will have an opportunity to present at an Investor Demo Day to investors, venture capitalists, Microsoft executives, media and industry influentials.

  • jay_l_a
    Whilst I think it's great to see M$ supporting gaming on the PC, I just don't think this will sell. Add-on controllers are more at home on consoles. PC gaming is more of a personal rather than group effort...
  • theconsolegamer
    Those 20k MS is shelling out is to ensure they get new ideas from other people and present them to MS in order to steal them (I meant patent them)
  • RipperjackAU
    LAN parties of the future?

  • amk-aka-Phantom
    jay_l_aWhilst I think it's great to see M$ supporting gaming on the PC, I just don't think this will sell. Add-on controllers are more at home on consoles. PC gaming is more of a personal rather than group effort...
    That's right. I'd rather get a better GPU, an SSD or a gaming keyboard than the Kinect set.
  • On the other hand, I would love to see a warrior tanking with a Kinect in WoW.
  • Parsian
    Good, this coupled with mobile devices built in sensor and tons of content could really help Windows to capture even more market.
  • d_kuhn
    There are a lot of people using kinects to develop new motion/gesture tracking algorithms. The biggest drawback I found to the existing unit was it's inablity to work up close. Farther away it's low resolution prevents you from distinguising small features like fingers. Up close you will be able to use finger gestures to add another level of input.

    It's a really cool device... once the pc version comes out you're going to start seeing things like kiosks where you control input with natural gestures. It could also be a nice alterntaive to touchscreens full of fingerprints if it can accurately locate what you're pointing at.
  • eklipz330
    this isn't just about gaming anymore guys. this is about an interactive UI. 50 cm? that's how far i sit away from my monitor, now imagine me controlling my desktop with one hand only....

  • jdenova007
    I don't think this will be for gaming at all.. more so, interacting with your PC.. which is awesome and I can't wait to see what they come up with. Especially if 3D continues to adapt with it. maybe this is the start of real holograms...... :)

    Who needs a mouse when you can interact via finger gestures.
  • SchizoFrog
    I have no issue with this with regards to PC gaming as PC games have been cut and held back for the console market for years and have had very little benefit from console successes. There are so many titles out there that are console exclusive. It's about time the PC got access to these titles as more can only be better all round.

    Then there is the benefit of the features other than gaming that this will bring to the PC market. My personal PC is not limited to only the desktop but is hooked up to my main TV and I would love to utilize the same options and features that Xbox360 owners have been able to.