Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 came out in Fall 2010. Users enjoyed the innovative and even futuristic control the game offered users. It innovated gaming and revolutionized fitness and other physical games.
Fun for gaming, the possibilities that this technology offers excited many. Plenty of hackers excited with what the Kinect could do beyond powering a game started to use the device to do all sorts of non-gaming functions like controlling robots. This is a major reason why Microsoft has released Kinect for Windows.
Microsoft just released Kinect for Windows. It is available for PC users who aren’t so into gaming, but are interested in the more practical aspects of what Kinect can do. It is available for USD $250. There are rumors that a less expensive version could be released in the future; the discount will be available for academics.
Also newly released is a Kinect for Windows commercial software development kit. While a version of this kit was previously available for hobbyists, academics and other enthusiasts to try, this commercial kit lets developers sell the software they create for a profit. This means that software developers are now hard at work creating software for a wide variety of functions and applications that utilize this amazing technology.
What it means
The hackers who first altered the Kinect for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 helped to illustrate what the possibilities for Kinect were when applied to non-gaming applications. While it has been a bit of delay between releases, these innovations that were discovered are suddenly easier to realize, and now they have the chance to be profitable.
There are plenty of exciting non-gaming applications for Microsoft’s Kinect technology. Kinect can be used to innovate medicine, robotics and to user in a completely new era of virtual reality. As commercial developers are just getting started, only the future will really show what Kinect will do and what it can bring.
What it costs
As mentioned, the Microsoft Kinect for Windows is USD $250, more than it is for the Xbox 360 version. The main reason for the greater cost is the popularity of the Xbox.
Microsoft explained that the cost of the camera for the Xbox 360 is subsidized by the number of games that users buy for their Xboxes. Additionally, the money Microsoft makes from Xbox LIVE subscriptions and other related purchases lets them keep the prices much lower.
This all means that as Kinect for Windows gets more popular, and more commercial applications are available for the camera, the price may go down. The greater the demand, the less Kinect will cost.
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While the Kinect for Xbox 360 is cheaper, if you want Kinect for your PC, it is no substitute. This version of Kinect is specially calibrated for your PC.
The Kinect for Windows has a camera with a shorter range. This lets it see as close as 16 inches away which is primed for PC users.
Additionally, the Kinect for the Xbox isn’t licensed for commercial use. Additionally it isn’t supported or under warranty for any platform aside from the Xbox 360. This means that not only will the warranty be voided if you attempt to use it for another platform, but it is likely to not function properly.
While an amazing innovation, most users don’t need it. At least they don’t need it now. Commercial applications have yet to be released, so unless someone has software from an academic or hobbyist, he or she probably has little use for it. When more software comes out, it will probably be a better investment, and one day, Kinect could very well come built into laptops in the same way that webcams now are.
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Watch the video below about Kinect for Windows.
Like the Windows Kinect? Order yours here.
What do you think of the Windows Kinect? Can it make a difference? Share your thoughts in the comments.