14 months after the release of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft have released Kinect for Windows. However, they will not be supporting the device with games, instead, its intended market will be commercial clients and developers.
Ian Tan, Xbox 360 Category Manager for Microsoft Singapore stated, "Microsoft is creating the Kinect for Windows commercial program to allow global businesses to create richer experiences with Kinect and develop applications that could potentially revolutionize their industries."
We've already seen a number of these Kinect 'hacks' which use the Kinect SDK for gesture control applications. A notable local example is the team of Temasek Polytechnic students who used Kinect to develop TARA (Therapy And Rehabilitation Assistant), a tool for assisting with the diagnosing and rehabilitation of stroke patients.
Kinect for Windows will run on any Windows 7, Window 8 Developer Preview or Windows Embedded-based devices and has been optimized for use with a PC thanks to the addition of a new 'near mode' that allows gesture control to work from as close as 40cm away from the sensor. Other upgrades over the Xbox 360 version include better speech and audio, and improved 'skeletal tracking' to make it easier for the sensor to monitor different users.
Kinect for Windows is currently available for US$250 (S$311) in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United States and United Kingdom. Microsoft was unable to comment on when Singapore will be added to the list.