Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer boldly announced a version of the Kinect for Windows. We’re all familiar with the Kinect sensors which power XBox consoles with gesture and speech controls. As they say it best–“You are the controller”. Now the natural interface will power Windows PCs and incorporates “near mode” capability that is a big development for the motion-sensing device. Near mode will allow the camera to track smaller movements as close as 50 cm. If you’ve used the current Kinect, you no doubt realize the power of the technology, but it comes with some tradeoffs. Users often have to make large, sweeping gestures and must stand approximately 4-11 ft. from the camera. Near mode will increase the precision of the gesture technology and incorporate more sophisticated movements that will benefit PC applications.
The Kinect for Windows is being offered at $249.99 which doesn’t seem like the best bargain. It looks like they will be in trial mode and have included the Commercial SDK, allowing developers to explore the various applications of the technology. Let smart people do your work for you? Sounds like a plan.