We knew it was coming, but Microsoft have now confirmed that there will be new Kinect hardware especially for Windows. Microsoft are building on the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, but have optimized certain hardware components and have made firmware adjustments which is said to enable better PC-centric scenarios.
This is mixed with the upgrades and improvements the team at Microsoft are making to the SDK and runtime for Kinect, with the new hardware delivering features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for. Things like shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computer and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.
New firmware for Kinect also allows 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 40cm. Kinect is set to offer some new features such as "Near Mode" which will enable a whole new class of "close up" applications.
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