Microsoft Officially Releases Kinect for Windows Sensor

Developers Receive Green Light for Kinect Apps for Windows

by Anton Shilov
01/31/2012 | 11:57 PM

Microsoft Corp. has officially released commercial version of its Kinect software development kit (SDK) for Windows. The tools allow application developers to create programs that run under Windows and utilize motion sensor. In addition, Microsoft started to sell Kinect for Windows hardware device.


The final commercial version of Kinect for Windows SDK includes a number of improvements. Microsoft added support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer, improved skeletal tracking (developers can control which user is being tracked by the sensor), increased speech recognition accuracy and others.

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 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.

Kinect for Windows is slightly different than the Kinect for Xbox 360 in terms of hardware and software. 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 is Near Mode which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 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 suggested retail price of Kinect for Windows is $249, and later this year, Microsoft will offer special academic pricing of $149 for qualified educational users.