Kinect for Windows out today

As promised, Microsoft's Kinect for Windows has launched today, bundling together a Kinect unit and a commercial license for the hardware. Microsoft is heavily pitching the bundle squarely toward industries outside video games, suggesting that Kinect should move "beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail."

As part of this new push, Microsoft is encouraging businesses to take part in the Kinect Accelerator program, which offers the chance for startups to receive funding for innovative Kinect projects.

The Kinect for Windows package retails for $249. The hardware features "advanced speech and audio capabilities" as well as "improved skeletal tracking that enables control over which user is being tracked by the sensor." The unit also features "near mode" which recognizes objects "as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor."

Will these improvements be implemented in the console hardware? Is it even possible? We're looking into it.

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Use the power of Kinect for Windows to change the world - available today; Feb. 1, 2012

Beginning today, Microsoft invites businesses around the world to innovate with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and software.

Microsoft puts the power of Kinect into the hands of companies around the globe, launching the Kinect for Windows commercial program today. Now any business can join innovation leaders, such as United Health Group, American Express, Mattel, Telefonica, and Toyota that already are developing applications with Kinect for Windows. As part of the Kinect for Windows early adoption program, more than 300 companies from more than 25 countries are exploring ways to improve internal operations, build new customer experiences, and potentially revolutionize their industries.

To further encourage small businesses to change the world with Kinect for Windows, Microsoft with Tech Stars is running a Kinect Accelerator program-offering entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators the opportunity to develop applications with Kinect as part of a 3-month intensive competition. For more information, visit the Kinect Accelerator site.

"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."


Kinect for Windows features and availability

The Kinect for Windows sensor is a fully-tested and supported Kinect experience on Windows and is built for developers. It offers features such as advanced speech and audio capabilities with the latest Microsoft Speech components; "near mode" which sees objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor; improved skeletal tracking that enables control over which user is being tracked by the sensor; and a commercial ready installer that makes it easy to install Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments.

The Kinect for Windows commercial license and purchasable hardware will be available in 12 countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United States and United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of U.S. $249. The price includes a one-year warranty and access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking. Kinect for Windows sensors and accessories can be purchased directly from an online store or from our global network of distributors and resellers. You can visit KinectforWindows.com to find a distributor or reseller.



For more information, please visit kinectforwindows.com and the Kinect for Windows blog.



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This article was originally published on Joystiq.