Microsoft previewed availability of its new Kinect for Windows version 2 back in June, but now the hardware is ready for anyone to pre-order for $199 through its website, with a ship date of July 15. The new version of the motion-tracking, video- and microphone-equipped interface device is based on its Xbox One counterpart. It aims to give developers ways to build more innovative gesture-based interaction into their software projects on the Windows platform.
The new Kinect hardware comes ready for the new Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0, so that developers can get cracking building new applications for the gadget, but does not ship with any bundled software. It’s not intended as a consumer device just yet. Instead it gives expanded options, like access to greater motion-detection capabilities and heightened detail sensitivity to those building crazy gesture-controlled Kinect apps for desktop PCs.
So far, at-home Windows computer use of the Kinect is still fairly specialized, so this will probably appeal to a limited circle. Microsoft has even moved away from its requirement that new Xbox One consoles ship with a Kinect bundled, so even the company behind the tech admits that its unique interaction method has limited appeal. Still, for those building advanced software that incorporates robotic vision elements, it’s a solid, affordable option and probably the closest to being something with mass adoption potential.