Microsoft released a Kinect for Windows SDK several months ago, and now the Kinect team has posted an update on new sensor hardware specifically for a PC. The original Kinect for Xbox had some flaws that made us question its viability on the PC side of things, but the blog post by Craig Eisler cites a number of ways that Redmond is working to tweak Kinect for a Windows environment.
Eisler first talked about changes to the USB cable, which seem fairly unimportant. Then he got to the meat of it. Kinect for Xbox has issues seeing and identifying things closer than a few feet. According to Eisler, after some changes to the camera firmware, Kinect is going to be able to see objects about 50cm away. That makes a desktop experience viable for the first time.
The already solid Kinect SDK tools are also due for a refresh, which will incorporate the new firmware features. The SDK will be opened to commercial licensing sometime next year in advance of Windows 8.