Kinect for Windows hardware and SDK now available

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Right on cue, Microsoft have announced the availability of the Kinect for Windows hardware and Software Development Kit, hitting the February 1st release date that Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer promised at CES.

Built for developers as “a fully-tested and supported Kinect experience on Windows”, it shares the same look as the regular Xbox 360 version, but has a few key differences.

Most notably, it comes with a “commercial ready installer that makes it easy to install Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments”, but also offers better speech and audio capabilities thanks to the inclusion of the latest Microsoft speech components, as well as improved skeletal tracking and the ability to work within a Macro mode of just 40cm away from the sensor.

“It’s been just over a year since we launched Kinect for Xbox 360, and we’re only starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible with Kinect,” said Craig Eisler, general manager for Kinect for Windows.

“By offering hardware and software that’s designed specifically for Windows applications, we hope to inspire visionaries around the world to create transformative breakthroughs with Kinect – taking its gesture and voice capabilities beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.”

Launching intially Stateside for $249, it’ll hit Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom in the near future.

Gerald Lynch