Microsoft confirmed this week that a Windows optimized version of its Kinect motion sensor will be released next year.
Kinect for PC will be slightly different than the Kinect for Xbox 360 in terms of hardware and software. Details are vague, but Microsoft claims that it had optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios. Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a range of PCs and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision. “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360.