Microsoft released for download on February 1 the final bits for the first version of its Kinect for Windows software and began shipping the accompanying sensor hardware.
The Kinect for Windows sensor looks like the Kinect for Xbox sensor. But it is designed to work at closer range and to work with Windows 7/8 PCs. In addition to making firmware adjustments in the new Windows Kinect sensor, Microsoft has shortened the the USB cable and is including of a “small dongle” to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. The Windows version will modify the Kinect depth camera to see objects that are “as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device” without sacrificing accuracy or precision.
Support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer
Improved skeletal tracking, including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor
Near Mode for the new Kinect for Windows hardware, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the device
API updates and enhancements in the managed and unmanaged runtimes
Inclusion of the latest Microsoft Speech components (V11) in the SDK and runtime installer
Improved “far-talk” acoustic model that increases speech recognition accuracy
New and updated samples, such as Kinect Explorer, which enables developers to explore the full capabilities of the sensor and SDK, including audio beam and sound source angles, color modes, depth modes, skeletal tracking, and motor controls
A commercial-ready installer which can be included in an application’s set-up program, making it easy to install the Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments.
Improvements in driver stability, runtime fixes, and audio fixes