Microsoft has unleashed an updated version of its Kinect for Windows runtime and software development kit that includes support for Windows 8 as well as support for virtual-machine environments that are running Windows. The software giant expects the technology's enhanced natural user interface capabilities will enable Windows software developers to begin building a variety of applications that empower entirely new business scenarios.
For example, Microsoft envisions product vendors using its Kinect with Windows sensors to monitor manufacturing processes by harnessing the platform's ability to gather extended-range depth data . Moreover, building solutions that "work in low-light settings becomes a reality with infrared stream exposure, such as in theaters and light-controlled museums," Microsoft's Kinect for Windows team wrote in a blog post Monday.
We asked Al Hilwa, director of application development software research at IDC, about the potential impact of Microsoft's updated Kinect for Windows SDK on Windows software development going forward.
"This is a surprising extensive set of improvements that adds up to a significant new release that will expand the reach of this device considerably," Hilwa told us. "Kinect is unique in the industry and is already forging a mini-ecosystem around it in terms of the types of applications using it. The applications go way beyond gaming."
Transformative for Business Professionals
With Kinect for Windows, Microsoft is giving software developers the tools they need to integrate a variety of interactive touch-free gesture and voice capabilities into their next-generation apps. According to Microsoft, developers can use their choice of C++, C#, or Visual Basic to create applications that support gesture and voice recognition on machines running Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7 and Windows 8.
"We want to make it easy for our customers to be able to build and deploy on a variety of Windows platforms," said Craig Eisler, the general manager of Kinect for Windows. "By the end of the year, Kinect for Windows will be available in 38 markets."
Microsoft foresees a number of different ways for Kinect for Windows to transform how business professionals in multiple industries -- including education, healthcare, retail and transportation -- interact with computers and Windows-embedded devices in the future.
"I believe that we will get to experience an exciting new era where computing becomes invisible and all of us will be able to interact intuitively and naturally with the computers around us," Eisler wrote in a blog. (continued...)
Posted: 2012-10-10 @ 8:59am PT
Very interesting how they did this to the Kinect. Possibly one day we could do something similar with embedded computers.