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Next-Generation Kinect for Windows Coming in 2014

Bob Heddle, Director of Kinect for Windows, said that the next generation model won't arrive until 2014.

According to Heddle, both the Windows version and the sensor that will be packed with the Xbox One are being built on a shared set of technologies. However the Windows version will aim at bringing new computing experiences to the desktop whereas the Xbox One model will focus on revolutionizing gaming and entertainment.

"We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers," Heddle said. "A new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) are core to that commitment."

Some of the key capabilities of the new Kinect sensor include a higher fidelity, an expanded field of view, improved skeletal tracking, and a new active infrared (IR). We've heard all about these new features over the last several days, but his pitch in Thursday's blog focused on the non-gaming sectors like businesses, hospitals and so on. As an example, users will have the ability to develop enhanced rehabilitation and physical fitness solutions thanks to the improved skeletal tracking.

"The combination of the new sensor’s higher fidelity plus expanded field of view will give businesses the tools they need to create truly untethered, natural computing experiences such as clicker-free presentation scenarios, more dynamic simulation and training solutions, up-close interactions, more fluid gesture recognition for quick interactions on the go, and much more," he said.

"The all-new active-IR capabilities allow the new sensor to work in nearly any lighting condition and, in essence, give businesses access to a new fourth sensor: audio, depth, color…and now active IR," he added. "This will offer developers better built-in recognition capabilities in different real-world settings—independent of the lighting conditions—including the sensor’s ability to recognize facial features, hand position, and more."

Additional information about the next-generation Kinect for Windows will be provided next month during BUILD 2013.