It looks like Microsoft Kinect, originally a device for video gaming, is incoming to all types of personal computers with Microsoft Windows onboard. The software giant is now looking forward integration of Kinect sensors into laptops.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in early January Microsoft disclosed plans to introduce a special Kinect add-on for desktop personal computers. Apparently, the company is now working on a reference design that would enable manufacturers of notebooks to integrate Kinect into mobile PCs as well. During the CES, the software giant reportedly demonstrated such designs behind closed doors.
The first prototype to integrate Kinect was as Asustek Computer laptop with cameras and sensors located on top side of the screen, according to The Daily web-site. Asus and Microsoft have not officially commented on the information, but a source within the software company did confirm the plan to build-in Kinect into portable systems unofficially.
Support of Kinect SDK will likely be a part of Windows 8 operating system therefore it is logical for Microsoft to give independent software maker maximum freedom in order to quickly make Kinect a default technology on PCs, something that will give the software giant a distinct advantage over Apple and its Mac OS X. What is unclear is how will Kinect's natural user interface (NUI) will co-work with extremely simplistic and rather poor-looking Metro interface that Microsoft proposes to adopt for tablets as well as PCs.
Kinect for PC will be slightly different than the Kinect for Xbox 360 in terms of hardware and software. Details are vague, but Microsoft claims that it had optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios. Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a range of PCs and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision. “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360.
The Kinect sensor features an RGB camera, a depth sensor, audio sensors, and motion-sensing technology that tracks 48 points of movement on the human body. Kinect has the ability to recognize faces and voices. Kinect can perform full-motion tracking of the human body at 30 frames per second. The depth sensor of Kinect for Xbox 360 supports 640x480 resolution.