Microsoft has today released a commercial version of Kinect for Windows.
Kinect for Windows is a specific version of Kinect released only for interfacing Microsoft Kinect with your laptop or desktop with Windows 7. Kinect for Windows is available as a bundle package through Amazon and Microsoft Store for 249$.
Why Microsoft has released another Kinect edition?
Kinect for XBOX 360 are built specifically to interface with XBOX and it has been tweaked to work with XBOX programming API’s. What we realized when we used Kinect Controller for XBOX 360 on a PC, there is little performance difference in it. So Microsoft has made some tweaks to Microsoft Kinect for performance optimization in Windows, and this version of Kinect has been available as Kinect for Windows.
Not only that Microsoft has opt for a Hardware only Business model with Kinect for Windows. We have to get commercial hardware license for Kinect to use it in a commercial environment, but the software to use with it (Kinect SDK for Windows) is been released as FREE.
So you only will have to spend for Buying hardware (Kinect for Windows), and Software license(Kinect SDK for Windows) is free.
The newly released Kinect for Windows hardware is optimized for use with computers and devices running Windows 7, Windows 8 developer preview (desktop applications only), and Windows Embedded-based devices.
Is it confusing for you, the terminologies? Don’t worry I will make it clear.
1. Kinect for Windows – a commercial version of Kinect sensor hardware for using with Windows
2. Kinect SDK for Windows – software for Kinect for Windows( which includes Kinect for Windows Drivers, API’s and Samples etc).
The Bundle and Availability
Kinect for Windows sensor is available as a bundle through amazon and Microsoft Store for Purchase.
The Bundle consists of
- Kinect for Windows sensor
- USB/power supply cable
- and 1 year support and software updates
The Kinect for Windows sensor is available in the United States, for a suggested retail price of US $249. You will also be able to purchase Kinect for Window sensors in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. More countries will be added soon.
Note: The sensor unit does not ship with any software, and will only operate with an application developed for Kinect for Windows.
The Kinect of Windows sensor is intended to be used with the Kinect for Windows SDK and applications developed using the Kinect for Windows SDK and associated runtime software.
The SDK includes drivers, APIs, sample code and more.
Features of Kinect for Windows hardware and SDK
1. Commercial Ready – ready to use for commercial uses
2. Enhanced Sensor – The Kinect for 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. In addition, up to 4 Kinect sensors can now be plugged into the same computer.
3. Software Improvements
One of the many improvements to the Kinect for Windows SDK is improved skeletal tracking, which lets developers control which user is being tracked by the sensor. In addition, the latest Microsoft Speech components, along with an improved acoustic model significantly improve speech recognition accuracy.
4. Advanced Speech and audio capabilities
Provide the latest Microsoft Speech components and an updated English Language Pack for improved language recognition accuracy. In addition, the appropriate runtime components are now automatically installed with the runtime installer exe.
5. API Improvements
Enhances consistency and ease of development. New developers should have a much easier time learning how to develop with Kinect for Windows, and all developers will be more productive.
6. Shortening USB cable and small dongle
Ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and improves coexistence with other USB peripherals.
7. Support and software updates
The Kinect for Windows hardware includes a one-year warranty, support, and access to software updates for both speech and human tracking.
Software & Hardware Requirements
- 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- Dual-core 2.66 GHz or faster processor
- Dedicated USB 2.0 bus
- 2 GB RAM
- Requires operating system is Windows 7 or Windows Embedded Standard 7
Small Update info on Kinect SDK for Windows BETA
The Kinect for Windows SDK beta can only be used with the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware. Applications built with this hardware and software are for non-commercial development only. To accommodate existing non-commercial deployments using the SDK beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware, the beta license is being extended to June 16, 2016. Developers are encouraged to download the Kinect for Windows SDK, which was released February 1, 2012. This SDK provides additional features and updates.
This post is prepared based on the information available on http://www.KinectforWindows.org, if you would like to know more on Kinect for Windows please visit the Kinect for Windows website.