A few weeks ago, Microsoft delivered the news that Kinect for Windows was a reality, and released the Kinect for Windows SDK. Microsoft Kinect is making waves in the development of tools to help the disabled, assist injured or handicapped with rehabilitation, and lend a hand in the operating room to make doctor’s jobs easier (it’s the Kinect Effect; you can see it on the Xbox site).
The SDK made is possible for programmers and dreamers from the world over to tinker with the system and make it do things Microsoft hadn’t thought of, and push the development of NUI (Natural User Interfaces) to the next level. But on Tuesday (November 22), Microsoft announced in a blog post some answers to community questions that had been thrown at them with the release of the Kinect SDK announcement regarding the past, present, and future of the Kinect on Windows Platform.
First, Microsoft will be releasing new, PC-specific hardware that’s tailored for closer interactions; as close as 40-50 centimeters (as opposed to the 6-8 feet for Kinect on the XBox), called Near Mode, which will be huge for every aspect of Kinect computing. Microsoft also mentioned firmware and optimizations to the sensor to make Near Mode sensitive and responsive. We’re betting on true virtual keyboards, hand-gestures and facial expression communication with computers the likes of which we’ve only seen on science fiction.
Microsoft also committed strongly to updates and future support to companies deciding to forge onward with Kinect for Windows programming, expressing a keen and profound interest in the kind of innovation that will revolutionize computing.
For the purpose, Microsoft launched the Kinect Accelerator incubator through Microsoft Bizspark: It will provide 10 companies that will use Kinect on either Xbox or Windows as a development platform investment funding and a ton of perks to get them started.
It’s an exciting time and an exciting platform. Kinect for Xbox has already revolutioned gaming, the possibilities for revolution in the commercial sector seems pretty limitless.
What ideas do you have for a practical application of Kinect? Let us know in the comments!
Jason does in fact own an Xbox with Kinect, though he’s loathe to admit how badly he performs on even the easiest levels of the games. You can probably catch him mentioning his trials and tribulations on that platform via Google+ and sometimes Twitter.