Microsoft announced today that new “fully supported” Kinect hardware will be released for the Kinect for Windows commercial program – announced earlier this month – that will roll out early in the new year.
The new hardware is based on the current Xbox 360 model and features a number of improvements and adjustments to the hardware to improve PC compatibility.
“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.”
A few changes include:
- Shorter USB cable for better suitability across a range of different computers.
- Addition of a small dongle for compab with other USB peripherals.
- “Near Mode” via new firmware, the depth camera will be able to accurately and precisely track objects as close as 50 centimeters. Graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. Microsoft believes that the new mode will enable a new field of “close up” applications.
Because of Microsoft’s “deep commitment” to Natural User Interface”, the corporation is adamant that licenced customers participating in Kinect for Windows will receive full and ongoing support. Customers will receive speech and human tracking updates, and other general support.
Microsoft recently announced an incubation project “Kinect Accelerator” headed by Microsoft BizSpark . Kinect Accelerator is open to developers and start-ups who have an idea to leverage the Kinect’s (Windows or Xbox) functionality. Ten developers will be chosen and flown up to Seattle, Washington, to participate n the incubation program, running from March to April. Applications close January 25th, 2012 and the project is open to all countries.
As listed on the Microsoft blog, criteria for participation includes:
- Any Kinect-enabled application on Windows or Xbox that can be a commercial business
- Manufacturing to retail, education to healthcare, art installations to gaming, social to interactive play
- Can be cloud-hosted, on any platform, but needs to be an application
- Could be one view of an application that may also have a web UI, mobile UI, etc
- Kinect-controlled applications, like what you have on your phone, but on a big screen or a computer screen
- Content you might expect to consume in your living room or in an operating room
- Your company does not necessarily need experience developing with Kinect, but the business concept does need to leverage Kinect capabilities as part of the final offering.
- Your team must also be willing to develop the technical skills required to bring your solution to a functioning prototype.
Note: This post comes from Techromp.com