Microsoft Corp. on Friday unveiled the look and some technology aspects of the Kinect for Windows v2 motion sensor. The device will emerge for sale later this year and will bring capabilities of the Xbox One game console to personal computers running Windows operating system.
Kinect for Windows v2 Sensor
The new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor closely resembles the Kinect for Xbox One, except that it says “Kinect” on the top panel and replaces the Xbox logotype with a power indicator. The device continues to integrate 1920*1080 RGB camera, improved infrared sensor, enhanced voice controls and USB 3.0 connection.
The new advanced sensor for PCs will come with a special hub and a power supply unit. The hub (top item pictured below) accepts three connections: the sensor, USB 3.0 output to PC, and power. The power supply (bottom item pictured below) delivers all the power the sensor requires to operate. The power cables will vary by country or region, but the power supply itself supports voltages from 100–240 volts. For some reason, Microsoft decided not to integrate the hub and the PSU into a single unit. Many users may find the current set rather complicated.
A Revolution for the PC?
The Kinect for Windows v2 can detect a finger movement within nanoseconds, which is why Microsoft hopes that it will modernize computing experiences. Last year the company said that precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new version 2.0 platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers.
What is particularly interesting is how Kinect for Windows v2 affects video games for PCs. The first-generation sensor has not become popular and therefore had zero influence. Technologically, the Kinect for Windows v2 is much more advanced than the first version, but it will need to get more or less widespread in order to catalyse game developers to create titles for it.
Microsoft Kinect for Windows v2 seems to be a rather powerful device that could offer unique capabilities for various special-purpose systems. However, the bulky device will hardly become a solution of choice for mainstream consumers and gamers for one simple reason: there are no programs that take advantage of Kinect v2 on the PC now. Unless Windows itself not only fully supports Kinect, but provides decent improvements to user experience, Microsoft’s motion sensor will hardly get popular on PCs.
Microsoft has been offering Kinect for Windows v2 development kit to software makers for about a year now.
It is unknown when Microsoft plans to announce the Kinect for Windows v2 and how much it is set to cost. Nonetheless, since the hardware itself seems to be final, it is a matter of months before the unit will hit the market.