Microsoft Corp. has begun to accept pre-orders on the second-generation Kinect for Windows developer kit. The software designer program will begin this November, whereas the final commercial Kinect 2 for Windows motion sensor will be available sometimes in 2014. There are a limited number of spots in the program.
This program, which begins in November 2013, will provide developers with tools and a pre-release sensor as soon as possible so they can start building new applications before general availability in 2014 (software designers will get the final sensor as well). The program fee will be $399 (or local equivalent) and it will include the following:
- Direct access to the Kinect for Windows engineering team via a private forum and exclusive webcasts;
- Early SDK access (alpha, beta, and any updates along the way to release);
- Private access to all API and sample documentation;
- A pre-release/alpha sensor;
- A final, released sensor at launch.
The new Xbox One comes with completely redesigned Kinect sensor that will feature 1920*1080 RGB camera, improved infrared sensor and enhanced voice controls. The sensors of the second-generation Kinect can detect a finger movement within nanoseconds, which gets the whole platform onto a brand new level of functionality.
Both the new Kinect sensor for Xbox One and the new Kinect for Windows sensor are being built on a shared set of technologies. Just as the new Kinect sensor will bring opportunities for transforming gaming and entertainment, the new Kinect for Windows sensor will modernize computing experiences. The precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers.
The enhanced fidelity and depth perception of the new Kinect sensor will allow developers to create apps that see a person's form better, track objects with greater detail, and understand voice commands in noisier settings. The enhanced fidelity and depth perception of the new Kinect sensor will allow developers to create apps that see a person's form better, track objects with greater detail, and understand voice commands in noisier settings.
Some of the key technologies and capabilities of the new sensor are the following:
- The new sensor includes a high-definition (HD) color camera as well as a new noise-isolating multi-microphone array that filters ambient sounds to recognize natural speaking voices even in crowded rooms. Also included is Microsoft’s proprietary Time-of-Flight technology, which measures the time it takes individual photons to rebound off an object or person to create high accuracy and precision. All of this means that the new sensor recognizes precise motions and details, such as slight wrist rotation, body position, and even the wrinkles in your clothes. The Kinect for Windows community will benefit from the sensor’s enhanced fidelity, which will allow developers to create highly accurate solutions that see a person’s form better than ever, track objects and environments with greater detail, and understand voice commands in noisier settings than before.
- Expanded field of view: the expanded field of view accommodates a multitude of differently sized rooms, minimizing the need to modify existing room configurations and opening up new solution-development opportunities. The combination of the new sensor’s higher fidelity plus expanded field of view will give businesses the tools they need to create truly untethered, natural computing experiences such as clicker-free presentation scenarios, more dynamic simulation and training solutions, up-close interactions, more fluid gesture recognition for quick interactions on the go, and much more.
- Improved skeletal tracking: the new sensor tracks more points on the human body than previously, including the tip of the hand and thumb, and tracks six skeletons at once. This not only yields more accurate skeletal tracking, it opens up a range of new scenarios, including improved “avateering,” the ability to develop enhanced rehabilitation and physical fitness solutions, and the possibility to create new experiences in public spaces – such as retail – where multiple users can participate simultaneously.
- New active infrared (IR): The all-new active-IR capabilities allow the new sensor to work in nearly any lighting condition and, in essence, give businesses access to a new fourth sensor: audio, depth, color…and now active IR. This will offer developers better built-in recognition capabilities in different real-world settings – independent of the lighting conditions – including the sensor’s ability to recognize facial features, hand position, and more.