Microsoft is readying Kinect for Windows hardware, as it aims to expand the game controller's reach beyond the Xbox 360.
is prepping new Kinect hardware especially designed for Windows, as the company
seeks to expand the utility of the hands-free game controller beyond the Xbox
to a Nov.
on the Kinect for Windows blog, the hardware will elaborate on
the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device and appear sometime in 2012. Microsoft
is launching its Kinect for Windows commercial program early next year. Some
200 companies are already involved in a global pilot program to explore Kinect's
hardware alterations necessary for a Windows-optimized Kinect include
shortening the USB cable "to ensure reliability across a broad range of
computers," Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, wrote in
the blog posting. That's along with the addition of "a small dongle to
improve coexistence with other USB peripherals." New firmware will
optimize the camera to accurately focus on objects at ranges up to 50
mode' will enable a whole new class of 'close up' applications, beyond the
living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360," he added. "This is
one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies
participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program."
had originally designed the Kinect as a way to play Xbox 360 games via gesture
and the spoken word, targeting those casual gamers who'd made the Nintendo Wii
and its unconventional, gesture-centric controllers such an enormous hit.
Within weeks of Kinect's release in November 2010, however, tech pros found a
way to hack the device's 3D camera. Soon videos began to appear on YouTube
demonstrating how the next-generation hardware could be used to do everything
from controlling robots to painting 3D images.
an initial period of public disapproval, Microsoft rushed to embrace the Kinect
hacking, claiming that it had deliberately left the device open to
modification. Then the company started highlighting its intention to offer
Kinect technology to academic institutions, with an eye toward boosting the
latter's research. From there, it was yet another short hop to businesses.
millions of Kinect units selling to gamers, Microsoft clearly sees-or at least,
ardently hopes-the technology appealing to productivity-minded users, as
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter