Kinect for Windows sensor arrives with SDK in tow

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but Microsoft has finally released its Windows-optimized Kinect sensor. The company made the announcement on its official Kinect for Windows blog this morning; and sure enough, the sensor can be ordered now from Amazon and the Microsoft Store for $249.99. Education customers can purportedly get a $100 discount.

What makes the Kinect for Windows sensor any different from the much cheaper Xbox 360 model? According to Microsoft, the Windows sensor "expands the possibilities for innovation with features like Near Mode, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor." (That’s probably handy unless you routinely sit a few feet away from your PC.) Also, you can plug as many as four Kinect for Windows sensors into the same computer.

Along with the hardware, Microsoft has released version 1.0 of its Kinect for Windows developer toolkit and runtime. That’s available here. From what I can tell, developers pretty much make up the entirety of the Kinect for Windows target market right now. The Windows sensor doesn’t ship with any software, and I’m not aware of any PC games that support it. That doesn’t mean we won’t see some cool applications—but right now, the appeal for average users seems rather limited.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    It’s amazing how a firmware difference from one version to the next gets Microsoft $100 over the original version. Honestly, they should update the Kinect for 360 to also have the same near field option. It really needs it.

      • Biggins
      • 8 years ago

      Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo typically lose money on hardware sales and make up for that by marking up the price of their games. Right now, MS isn’t selling any games/software for the Windows version of Kinect so they don’t have a way to make up for that loss. They’re selling the Kinect at cost or a little above cost so they don’t lose money. MS might charge royalties for any software that uses the Kinect and eventually lower the price. $250 is too much for me but I might buy it for $150.

    • Biggins
    • 8 years ago

    I’ll buy this if it supports head tracking. The TrackIR has been on my wishlist for many years but I’ve gotten out of flight sims and couldn’t justify the cost. It would have been nice to have for Arma II but the mouse and keyboard worked well for running in one direction and looking around.

    Hopefully DICE can come up with something so the Kinect will work with Battlefield 3 when flying choppers and jets. I configured my joystick to look around the cockpit but you can’t steer the plane and look around [b<]at the same time.[/b<] Kind of useless.

    • lycium
    • 8 years ago

    time to start thinking about fast ways to use multiple sensors for high accuracy capture 🙂

    • Musafir_86
    • 8 years ago

    -Sadly, it only supports Windows 7 onwards; not even Vista which is still under mainstream support (XP is understandable).

    Regards.

      • flip-mode
      • 8 years ago

      That’s a good thing.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        Why is Vista users getting screwed a good thing?

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        Yea fuck anybody who isnt using the very latest version! /s

    • Sahrin
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder if Windows ME3 will support the Kinect? If it does, the PC version would obviously be preferable to the 360 version.

    • Sargent Duck
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve never seen a Kinect in action, but I wonder if it can be substituted for a mouse? I’m thinking HTPC and it replaces the wireless mouse so you can stop/pause movies, increase/decrease the sound in the media player. You’d look like an idiot of course waving your hands around, but it’d be pretty cool to control your movie without needing a remote.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Been there, done that.

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y0JT0xR_a4[/url<]

        • Sargent Duck
        • 8 years ago

        and computron9000

        Cool! Think I just found my next Christmas present!

      • computron9000
      • 8 years ago

      On the xbox, you can also use voice commands for starting, stopping, ejecting, selecting things in certain applications, etc. For example, you can say “xbox bing The Matrix” and it will hunt for “The Matrix” on bing. You can also issue commands on certain interfaces/menus, as well as control video. So long as you weren’t somewhere where you would like a crazy person yelling voice commands at your computer, it would replace some of the gesture absurdity.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 8 years ago

        It’s kinda sad that Microsoft actually convinced people that a Kinect camera is required to do voice commands when the 360 SHOULD be able to do that with any mic. Except MS coded it so it won’t. I guess, though, if Kinect wasn’t required, you’d see all those “Kinect enabled” games like ME3 disappear because the camera part is so specialized.

        MS really does like limiting things that should be included already (ie., matchmaking, Netflix, ability to install your own hard drive, etc.). Microsoft is the Apple of console makers.

          • Sahrin
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<] Microsoft is the Apple of console makers.[/quote<] That would be Nintendo.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      I’ve seen it in action, and the latency is atrocious. Can be on the order of hundreds of milliseconds.

        • moose17145
        • 8 years ago

        I would say that doesn’t matter much if you are just using it to control netflix or something similar. But for trying to actually play a game… yes the latency is downright terrible… honestly idk why anyone would even bother using a kinect for playing ANY type of game after i have seen how bad the latency is on the xbox.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    Still only got a USB 2 connection? For that price increase, would have thought they could offer something with enough bandwidth to be really useful in any way you want.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      480 mbit is plenty of bandwidth, it’s not like it has a 4k sensor.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        For those who dont see the issue of using USB 2, i suggest they read this article: [url<]http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-12-17-source-ms-quadrupling-kinect-accuracy[/url<] It explains that the controller is only capable of 16MB/s on the xbox, but the rumouir (at the time) was the PC version would feature better controller to allow the full res of the sensors. Still, for this price, would have thought USB3 was a given.

          • Sahrin
          • 8 years ago

          So to you uesless extra bandwidth = justification for high price? I’ve got a $1,000 external floppy drive that connects with fibre channel to sell you.

          • Deanjo
          • 8 years ago

          You should read your own article. The issue is not with the interface being USB 2 which still has plenty of bandwidth. It is that they decided to limit amount of data that was sent over the USB interface. Jumping it up to USB 3 / Thunderbolt / insert your favorite connection of the week, would have absolutely ZERO effect on it. They decided to limit it because the XBox’s USB is a shared hub effectively reducing the bandwidth in half that is available if both ports were to be in use.

          From your article:

          [quote<]"All eminently doable though bearing in mind that Kinect 'only' needs 20MB/s for full res from both cameras. [/quote<] That falls well within the spec of a single USB 2 connection which in theory is 3 times that amount (in real world practice however is roughly around 30-35 MB/s)

      • Sahrin
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]http://web.forret.com/tools/video_fps.asp?width=640&height=480&fps=30&space=rgb444&depth=8[/url<] Because a 640x480 30Hz image like that captured by the Kinect's image sensor maxes out at 220Mbps (less than half of the bandwidth of USB2).

    • SkyWarrior
    • 8 years ago

    FRC teams are using it like crazy now. I have two teams that I am working with. Both will have kinect controlled robots at the competition hopefully.

    Thanks to NI and WPI 🙂

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 8 years ago

    Now Howard Joel Wolowitz just needs to incorporate the Kinect into his program to control the remote arm and there will be a few more hundred ER visits.

      • Black69ta
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe Raj could use a Kinect controlled robot to talk to beautiful women thru Proxy!

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