kinect1st feb

Kinect for Windows Product Available February 1st

The Kinect for Windows product group announced the upcoming release of their full commercial product in an official blog post on January 9. The new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1. It will be supported in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and United Kingdom) at a suggested retail price of US$249.

Academics will still be able to use the Software Development Kit (SDK) with current Kinect for Xbox 360 sensors for non-commercial purposes and existing deployments that are licensed until 2016.

You now also have a route to write commercial applications. Monitor the Kinect for Windows site for updates.

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• The announcement is here.

As the Kinect for Windows blog states, many improvements to the SDK and runtime have been made these include:

  • Support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer
  • Significantly improved skeletal tracking, including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor
  • Near Mode for the new Kinect for Windows hardware, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimetres in front of the device
  • Robustness improvements including driver stability, runtime, and audio fixes
  • Many API updates and enhancements in the managed and unmanaged runtimes
  • The latest Microsoft Speech components (V11) are now included as part of the SDK and runtime installer
  • Improved “far talk” acoustic model that increases speech recognition accuracy
  • New and updated samples, such as the Kinect Explorer, which enables developers to explore the full capabilities of the sensor and SDK, including audio beam and sound source angles, colour modes, depth modes, skeletal tracking, and motor controls
  • A commercial-ready installer which can be included in an application’s set-up program, making it easy to install the Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments.

The Channel 9 folks have some great content that went live today as well.