Over the weekend Microsoft announced the latest update to its Kinect for Windows product. Version number 1.7 of the SDK brings welcome new features to the sensor, and is available for download as of right now.

There are two components of the Kinect for Windows 1.7 update that matter: Fusion, and Interactions. Fusion is a tool by which the Kinect sensor can map and render three dimensional objects in real time. Via Microsoft, this is what Fusion can do:

2013 03 18 09h55 58 Kinect for Windows SDK update 1.7 is now live, bringing better gesture recognition and 3D object mapping

It’s interesting to note the fidelity that is possible with the current Kinect for Windows sensor. Impressive, by my estimation. It makes you wonder what will be possible with the next hardware iteration that Microsoft is surely working on.

Interactions, the second key feature of the 1.7 update adds a host of user movements that can be employed by those building applications for Kinect. Options included the detection of closed and open hands – which TNW has seen live – the pressing of buttons, and “grip to pan.”

In short, Interactions contains the input mechanisms that are most crucial to interacting with a computer screen from afar.

Kinect for Windows remains very much a developer’s playground, and not a consumer-facing product. For now. Eventually, I suspect that Microsoft will bake the sensors into monitors, adding gesture and voice support to its operating system, alongside touch and traditional keyboard and mouse input.

If you are the coding sort, you can snag the SDK update here.