Microsoft’s Next-Gen Kinect for PC Ships July 15

In-the-air gestural control of personal computers has taken another step closer to general availability. On Monday, Microsoft announced that its Kinect for Windows v2 sensor peripheral will ship on July 15, along with a public beta version of the software development kit.

The new information was made available as part of an update on pre-orders. The pre-order notice said the V2 sensor will give "developers more of the precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities they need to develop interactive voice and gesture-based applications."

The newest version of the sensor increases depth-sensing, provides 1080p video, and offers enhanced skeletal tracking and infrared technology. The peripheral, which will be priced for developers at $199, includes a sensor and a USB 3.0 connection. The sensor moves much of the processing to the GPU on the PC, instead of being handled by the CPU. Microsoft said that only a limited pre-order inventory is available.

New York City Hackathon

After that inventory is depleted, Kinect sensors will be available as part of the general release later in 2014. The Xbox One gaming console, for which the Kinect controller was originally released, is available for $499 with the Kinect, or $399 without it.

In late June, the company conducted a 27-hour hackathon in New York City around Kinect 2.0 and the SDK 2.0. On its Kinect for Windows Blog, the company noted that over a hundred participants attended, and the energy was high enough to warrant setting up additional events this summer in Dallas, Texas; at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington; and in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Although Kinect comes from the gaming world of the Xbox, the applications shown at the New York hackathon represented a wide range of uses. First place was awarded to an application called K4B from a company named Lightspeed. It uses the Kinect sensor to scan...

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