Microsoft Kinect for Windows Coming February 1, 2012

At the end of Microsoft’s keynote at CES 2012, Ballmer announced that the Kinect is coming to the Windows platform on February 1. According to the Kinect for Windows Blog, the suggested retail price will be $249. For Qualified Educational Users, it looks like there will be special academic pricing later in the year for a hundred less. People have already been hacking the Kinect for uses outside of gaming since its release. This is great news for individuals taking microsoft certification programs. It will be interesting to see what new and exciting uses will come with official Windows compatibility.

As you might have read before, this version of the Kinect sensor is not just a new wrapper on the existing Kinect. The hardware has been optimized and firmware adjusted to work better with the PC environment. It will have a shorter USB cable to ensure reliability across a range of computers, and include a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB devices. The main, most requested change is the ability of the camera to see and detect objects up close. The new firmware will enable the depth camera to see objects as close as 50cm without losing accuracy or precision, and gracefully degrade from that point down to 40cm.

If you are an early adopter, you can pre-order Kinect for Windows off Amazon.com.

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