Second generation Kinect sensor is coming to Windows
Microsoft announced at BUILD back in April that it would make its Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and Software Development Kit (SDK) available sometime this summer. Keeping true to its promise, developers can pre-order the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. Those who do will be able to start building out solutions such as Windows Store apps for Kinect ahead of everyone else.
Acquisition would open a world of opportunities for Apple
Perhaps hinting at a future feature of its iPad, iPod touch, and iPad mini devices, it's being reported that Apple snatched up PrimeSense, a fabless semiconductor company in Israel that specializes in low-cost, high-performance 3D sensing and machine vision technologies. The start-up's technology is represented in more than 24 million devices around the world, including Microsoft's original Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 console. It can also be found in 3D scanning applications like the Asus Xtion.
The company behind motion control software Flutter has been acquired by Google. Company CEO Navneet Dalal announced the acquisition on the Flutter website, thanking users and promising the continued availability of the app.
If you're unfamiliar with the service, think of Flutter as a software-only implementation of the Leap Motion. Hold your hand in front of your webcam and Flutter gives you basic control over your computer. You can skip tracks in Pandora, pause videos on Netflix or YouTube, or just wave at your computer for fun.
Let the inevitable comparisons to Minority Report begin.
How many technologies have you heard being compared to Minority Report style computing? More than you can count on one hand, most likely, and we have yet another candidate in Leap Motion with its 3D motion control technology. Hewlett-Packard (HP) will attempt to bring Leap Motion's technology to the mainstream by embedding it into select products as part of a new collaboration between these two companies.
Meticulous detail, motion-controlled swords and PC exclusivity: that's what noted sci-fi and historical fiction author Neal Stephenson is bringing to the table if his arena-style blade-dueling game, Clang, meets its $500k funding goal. Stephenson, you see, is sick of seeing guns, guns and more guns in games and he -- with the help of Subutai, his Seattle-based media company -- wants to bring back old-school sword duels in virtual form, all powered by Razer's Hydra motion controller.
Get ready to wave at your PC and welcome the motion control revolution on the desktop, Microsoft just made available the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) version 1.0 for download. After shedding its beta tag, the Kinect for Windows SDK now supports up to four Kinect sensors on a single computer, skeletal tracking, a Near Mode feature that lets the camera recognize objects just 40cm away, improved stability and audio, and API updates and enhancements.
Update: This post originally didn't mention that it was Techie-Buzz.com that originally broke this story. Our apologies!
Microsoft spent E3 basically rubbing the Kinect in everybody's faces. The future of gaming lies in voice control and real-time head tracking, Microsoft proclaimed from its keynote pulpit. Bing Search! Kinect Labs! Bossing your squadmates around in Mass Effect 3! We were starting to think that the goliath from Redmond actually wanted to push gaming into the future.
Then a US trademark filing brought us back to reality. It's not about the future – it's about the cash.
It seems like every few weeks Microsoft thumps its chest over how many Kinect motion control cameras it's sold, and now we're being told that number is 10 million. If there was any remaining doubt that Kinect sales have been an "overwhelming success," as Microsoft put it, the rapid rise to double digit sales earned kudos from the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. So much for the naysayers.
Microsoft's Kinect motion-sensing add-on for the Xbox 360 hasn't even been on the market for two months, yet we're already impressed with what the modding community has been able to do with the device. This is just the beginning, folks.
According to Eurogamer, an upcoming firmware release will improve the device's compression technology and depth sensor. As it currently stands, the Kinect detects movement at 30 frames per second at a 320x240 resolution, which is dictated by an artificial limit placed on the USB controller to use around 15MB/s even though it's capable of 35MB/s.
What Microsoft is trying to do is double the spec of the depth camera to 640x480 via a dashboard update. In theory, this could make the Kinect capable of detecting finger movements and hand rotations, which would open a whole new world for the modding community to play around with.
Maybe it's not the whole gimmick of motion controlled gaming that's holding you back from pairing your Xbox 360 console with a Kinect camera. Maybe, just maybe, you thought to yourself, "If only Microsoft made a Kinect laden with crystals and jacked up the price fourfold, then I'd be all in!"
If that sounds like you, then you're one lucky son-of-a-gun. Dutch website DSStyles.com is selling a customized Kinect plastered with over 5,000 genuine Swarovski crystals adhered to the front, back, and everywhere else.
"With over 5,000 pcs [of] genuine Swarovski crystals adhered, it can simply be acted as the sparkling light at night," DSStyles says. "Especially when playing the hottest game Kinect Dance, with these Swarovski crystals, it is just like dancing in the disco!"
Just like it, huh? In that case, at only $632, how could you not buy one?