Kinect for Windows – Special Hardware for Windows announced. (via Kinect for Windows Blog)

Since announcing a few weeks ago that the Kinect for Windows commercial
program will launch in early 2012, we’ve been asked whether there will also be
new Kinect hardware especially for Windows. The answer is yes; building on the
existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, we have optimized certain hardware
components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric
scenarios. 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.

Simple 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.  Of particular interest to
developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see
objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing
accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters.
 “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications,
beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the
most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in
our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums,
and we’re pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch.

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. 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. We’ve been captivated by the countless creative ways companies
worldwide envision how their businesses and industries can be revolutionized
with Kinect, and are proud to be helping those companies to explore the profound
implications NUI has for the future
.

Microsoft also has just launched a new initiative, the Kinect
Accelerator
incubation project run by Microsoft
BizSpark
. I will be serving as a Mentor for this program, along with a
number of other folks from Microsoft. BizSpark helps software startups through
access to Microsoft software development tools, connection to key industry
players (including investors) and by providing marketing visibility.  The
Kinect Accelerator will give 10 tech-oriented companies using Kinect (on either
Windows or Xbox360) an investment of $20,000 each, plus a number of other great
perks. Applications are being
accepted now through January 25th, 2012. At the end of the program, each company
will have an opportunity to present at an Investor Demo Day to angel investors,
venture capitalists, Microsoft executives (including me), media and industry
influentials. I can’t wait to see what they (and maybe you?) come up with!

About TechPreacher

Technical Evangelist working for Microsoft Switzerland. Focusing on the Internet of Things and Windows development. EV geek and passionate gamer, with a life.
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