By Subadri at 27 April, 2012, 11:44 am
The future of motion control comes to your desktop. The ground-breaking Xbox 360 motion controller has been a source of major interest since its development was first announced. Back in 2009, Project Natal – as it was known – wowed the crowds at the E3 shows. Many wondered whether the next generation of motion control has arrived. It had.
Kinect has remained wedded to the Xbox 360, though many have wondered about the potential for uses beyond Microsoft’s console. Various developers have performed hacks to make it work with other devices, but now Microsoft is officially enabling it to work with PCs through the release of a software development kit (SDK) for developers.
There’s also a new version of the Kinect for Windows general manager Craig Eisner confirmed the news in a Microsoft blog post. “The answer is yes; building on the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, we have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios”, he explained.
“Simple change include shortening the USB cable, to ensure reliability across a board range of computers, and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.”
There’s new Kinect firmware (programs installed on the device) which will enable it to see closer objects than the existing Xbox 360 version. This ‘Near mode’ will enable a new class of close-up applications that are much more is keeping with how most of us use a a PC.
There are dozens of possibilities – your PC could put itself to sleep when you are not in front of it, and it could change the way people display PowerPoint presentations. Kinect could revolutionise PC gaming, and much more 0 imagine what it could do for interactive whiteboards in the classroom.
The system requirements are not too demanding. You will need Windows 7 to use Kinect for Windows. It won’t work with older versions – although it will play nicely with Microsoft’s forthcoming operating system, Windows 8.
However, it is not all good news – while the Xbox 360 sensor can be found for as little as £80, the PC sensor is set to retail for over double that price, at least initially. We’ve seen early prices of £190 or so. Microsoft announced in January that it had sold 18 million Kinect units so far.