Microsoft continues to push its Kinect motion controller toward the PC. The SDK is out, promotional videos are pimping the device’s programmability, and changes are being made to the hardware to make it friendlier to typical PC environments. The upcoming PC version of Kinect will have shorter cables and a dongle that plays nicely with other USB devices. Tweaks are also being made to the firmware to support motion tracking at closer proximities.
With the living room in mind, the Xbox version of Kinect is designed to track motion at a distance of 6-8 feet. PC users tend to sit much closer to their systems, so a “near mode” has been created with a sweet spot between 40 and 50 cm, or 1.3-1.6 feet. Based on how my own desk is set up, the near mode should work perfectly with a Kinect placed just under my monitor.
Windows users in particular should be no strangers to directing, er, gestures toward their PCs, so I’m curious to see if Kinect catches on. I can see the potential for slick gesture recognition in Windows 8, especially since the touch-friendly Metro UI should be well suited to sweeping movements. Microsoft says the PC version of Kinect is coming next year along with a commercial program that will allow developers to profit off their Kinect-enabled apps. Thanks to EuroGamer for the tip.