Kinect will come to Windows, and Microsoft is not considering only the availability of software for the desktop client, but also the release of Kinect hardware specifically designed for it.
With a series of hardware changes inside it, the new Kinect for Windows will arrive with support for various applications that have the PC at their base.
The hardware changes that have been planned for the new product will be backed by new upgrades and improvements brought to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime.
The Redmond-based giant also notes that the new hardware is expected to provide features and functionality that many Windows developers have been already asking for.
Some of the changes that are planned for the product include shortening the USB cable so that it provides increased reliability across a broad range of computers, along with the inclusion of a small dongle for better coexistence with other USB peripherals.
The camera will be able to see objects that are only 50 centimeters in front without losing accuracy. “Graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters” is also planned for the device.
There is also a “Near Mode,” aimed at enabling a new class of “close up” applications, something that was not available with the 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,” the Kinect team notes in a blog post
“As part of Microsoft’s deep commitment to NUI, we designed the Kinect for Windows commercial program to give licensed customers access to ongoing updates in both speech and human tracking (where Microsoft has been investing for years), in addition to providing fully supported Kinect hardware for Windows.
“We’ve been captivated by the countless creative ways companies worldwide envision how their businesses and industries can be revolutionized with Kinect, and are proud to be helping those companies to explore the profound implications NUI has for the future.”
There is also a new Kinect Accelerator incubation project coming from Microsoft BizSpark, aimed at providing 10 tech-oriented companies using Kinect with $20,000 each, as well as with a number of other perks.
Microsoft is already accepting applications, all the way through January 25th, 2012. When the program is over, companies will be able to make presentations at an Investor Demo Day to angel investors.