Having enjoyed success on Xbox 360, Microsoft is to take Kinect to the next stage of its development with a Windows-specific version of the hardware – as well as a potential improvement to the Xbox 360 product.
The company had already announced a suite of PC development tools for the camera.
“We have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios,” the GM of Kinect for Windows Craig Eisler stated.
“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.”
The physical changes to the device include a shortening of the USB cable and the inclusion of a small dongle “to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals”.
New Kinect firmware will adjust the depth perception capabilities of the camera, allowing it to focus on objects as close to 50cms front of the device. It will actually still function as close as 40cm, though with some degradation.
This, of course, also has implications for Xbox 360.
“’Near Mode’ will enable a whole new class of ‘close up’ applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360,” Eisler added. “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.”