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By 2 February 2012 | Categories: news

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Last year Microsoft revealed that new Kinect hardware for Windows PCs will be released in 2012, stating that Kinect for Windows will boast optimised hardware components and firmware adjustments in order to better suit the requirements of PC users.

Now, the Redmond-based software giant has announced that version 1.0 of its SDK (software development kit) and runtime have been made available for download to developers. The company has also started to ship Kinect for Windows hardware to its distribution partners within the twelve launch countries (SA not included amongst these).

The suggested retail price of the hardware is $249 (around R1908) and the company stated that later during the year, it will offer a special discounted rate of $149 (about R1142) for Qualified Educational institutions. No local release info is available yet.

Microsoft said that it made various enhancements to the SDK and runtime including:
  • Support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same PC.
  • Greatly improved skeletal tracking such as the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor.
  • “Near Mode” for the new Kinect for Windows hardware, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 cm in front of the device.
  • The latest Microsoft Speech components (V11) are now included as part of the SDK and runtime installer.
  • Improved “far-talk” acoustic model that increases speech recognition accuracy.

In related news Microsoft also recently revealed that an important development milestone for the next version of its Office productivity suite has been reached, by announcing the beginning of the Office 15 technical preview program.

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