Microsoft has begun shipping the second version of its Kinect gesture and voice recognition system to Windows developers.
The Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview kits are now being sent to those who signed up for the $399 programme.
The kit includes a pre-release Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and access to a new version of the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK).
Next summer programme participants will also receive the final version of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, when they will launch in the northern hemisphere.
Microsoft is making the kits available now to give developers time to get apps ready for the general release of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor next year.
Thousands of people applied to be part of the preview programme.
The second version of Kinect shipped recently in Microsoft's Xbox One games console, where it serves as a voice and gesture controller. Kinect not only captures 2D video but the depth of the scene it's filming — allowing it to place objects in 3D space.
Improvements in the new Kinect include a wider field of view, a new approach to measuring depth using time-of-flight technology, lower latency gesture recognition, the ability to recognise stances via more accurate skeleton tracking and to track more people at once, as well as being able to approximate a person's heart beat.
Voice control is also improved over its predecessor, with a new multi-microphone array and noise isolation technology helping pick out what is said.