New Kinect hardware on the way for Windows, lands in 2012

If you use Kinect with your PC and have dreamed about dedicated hardware for the Windows platform, your dream will come true in 2012. A new blog post on Kinect for Windows has announced that "new Kinect hardware especially for Windows" will be available next year. 

The blog post states that the hardware has been optimized and the software has been adjusted to enable better PC use-case scenarios. When you combine this with the updates that have been deployed via the SDK, the new hardware will bring the product up to speed with features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been requesting. From the blog:

"Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.  Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters.  “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. 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. "

This new hardware should help with the creation of new applications and also give the developers the support that they need. Microsoft also stated that they are committed to Kinect and that this product will be supported for some time. It was not stated, however, what the actual lifecycle of the product will be.

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Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers

WHY? i always find USB cables on computer stuff to be to short, got pretty much everything hooked on USB extention cables because the default 1~1.5m cables are just TOO SHORT most of the time.

wetworker said,
Nice. I was going to pick one up for my 360. Hopefully they will make one device that works on both platforms.

From the blog post - It's quite literally the same device, but with a shorter USB cable and and USB dongle for you to use if you need it. The only difference is the software - and considering a lot of the processing is actually done on the device the Kinect is plugged into, that's not likely to make much difference either. It's more of a lightly "optimised" version of Kinect, rather than a Windows specific version.

Actually MS said that they are working on Kinect 2 to be released next year and with better specs... which is normal to follow this path of releasing new versions of a product that is good becasuse they keep improving and improving..

What do you think about it?

acido00 said,
Actually MS said that they are working on Kinect 2 to be released next year and with better specs... which is normal to follow this path of releasing new versions of a product that is good becasuse they keep improving and improving..

What do you think about it?


improve? they decreased the kinect before release so much. just that the xbox couldnt handle it and the costs would've been ridiculously high
Kinect2 would most likely be the original project natal.

threetonesun said,
Hopefully the Xbox will get some sort of "near" mode update as well.

I remember people mentioning the camera is capable of higher resolution but MS had to cap it by half or something as the hardware of the 360 wasn't up to transferring the data fast enough to make any use of it. Perhaps that's what allows the gains mentioned in this article.

oceanmotion said,

I remember people mentioning the camera is capable of higher resolution but MS had to cap it by half or something as the hardware of the 360 wasn't up to transferring the data fast enough to make any use of it. Perhaps that's what allows the gains mentioned in this article.

also they could make it USB 3.0 which may could be a pretty huge upgrade.

oceanmotion said,

I remember people mentioning the camera is capable of higher resolution but MS had to cap it by half or something as the hardware of the 360 wasn't up to transferring the data fast enough to make any use of it. Perhaps that's what allows the gains mentioned in this article.

I think it's more of an issue with the camera optics and likely usage. My understanding is that it would have been hard to build something that's wide enough for multiplayer action games that can also zoom in for finger based gestures. There are 3rd party Kinect "zooms" that shorten the distance required for it to see, but I haven't heard how well the work.

Obviously, on the PC those wide angles are less important, but it would be nice if the Xbox Kinect could reliably read a few feet closer for single player games.

It was to do with the limited bandwidth of the USB2 connection for the xbox. USB3 would fix that for sure, but for mass market, currently, I would imagine the PC Kinect would remain USB2.

threetonesun said,

I think it's more of an issue with the camera optics and likely usage. My understanding is that it would have been hard to build something that's wide enough for multiplayer action games that can also zoom in for finger based gestures. There are 3rd party Kinect "zooms" that shorten the distance required for it to see, but I haven't heard how well the work.

Obviously, on the PC those wide angles are less important, but it would be nice if the Xbox Kinect could reliably read a few feet closer for single player games.

A near mode is less to do with hardware - afterall they even say the PC version gets this addition only through a firmware update. It was mostly to do with full skeletal tracking - you simply have to be far enough away for the camera to see your entire body. Kinect on the 360 can still track fingers just fine with it's optics, it's just the software wasn't designed with that in mind.

Yeah I thought the USB connector (which is all the original 360's have) had a limited data rate which is why the 360S have the dedicated Kinect port (which just looks like a USB with a corner sliced off anyway)