Today Microsoft announced that it is shipping developer preview kits of its new Kinect for Windows sensor and software. That means the company is getting the new Kinect (a pre-release version) and the code to run it into the hands of developers on the same day that the Xbox One launched.
The Xbox One brings the living room variant of the new Kinect to average folk en masse.
According to Microsoft, “thousands” of developers signed up for the program. That’s nontrivial given that it cost $399 to take part, as The Next Web’s Emil Protalinski points out. Developers who receive the pre-release Kinect will also be given the final Kinect for Windows device when it is finished next year.
Kinect for Windows is a technology I’ve been a fan of since I heard of it. Adding voice and motion control to your computer that can likely already handle touch, and mouse and keyboard input is compelling. Other companies like Leap Motion are working on similar, if technologically dissimilar efforts.
However, Kinect for Windows, unlike its Xbox-based cousin, remains a developer toy better suited for one-off experimentation than daily use. Buy a Kinect for Windows sensor and if you can’t code, you can’t do much more than look at the device.
That said, no platform is born mature, and if we’re eventually going to bake elements of Kinect into our laptop screens and desktop monitors, we have to incubate the technology. The software side of the new Kinect contains a new SDK, supporting what the second generation Kinect hardware can bring in, in terms of data. For more on that, head here.