It looks like Microsoft is serious when it comes to Kinect for Windows computers. The company announced today that it is preparing new Kinect hardware that is specially designed to connect with computers running Windows. While there’s nothing wrong with the current Kinect working with a PC, the new Kinect will feature optimized hardware components and firmware adjustments to make it work better with computers. Coupled up with upgrades to the Windows SDK and run time, this new Windows-optimized Kinect is said to deliver features and functionality that developers and customers have been asking for.
From changes like a shorter USB cable and a dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals will help the Kinect work better with computers that have other USB devices plugged in. The new firmware will also enable the camera to see objects as close as 50cm in front of it without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 cm. This “Near Mode” is said to enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, which will make the Kinect more useful in places other than the living room.
This all sounds pretty exciting. We can’t wait to see what sort of apps the Kinect will be used for in Windows next time.