Microsoft today announced it has started delivering Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview kits to developers who signed up for the $399 program. The Developer Preview includes a pre-release Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and the next release of the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK).

Microsoft says it received “thousands of applications” for the program and selected an unknown number (again, “thousands”) of participants based on their “expertise, passion, and the raw creativity of their ideas.” The company is promising ongoing updates as well as access to private forums where developers can discuss what works and what doesn’t.

The best part, however, is that participants will also receive a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor when they become available “next summer.” Microsoft wouldn’t share a more specific timeframe than that.

The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor will feature the core capabilities of the new Kinect for Xbox One sensor, including an ultra wide-angle 1080p HD depth camera. The device captures RGB color video at around 30 frames per second and can even monitor the user’s heart rate.

Here is how the company breaks down the improvements:

  • Real Vision: Kinect Real Vision technology dramatically expands its field of view for greater line of sight. An all-new active IR camera enables it to see in the dark. And by using advanced three-dimensional geometry, it can even tell if you’re standing off balance.
  • Real Motion: Kinect Real Motion technology tracks even the slightest gestures. So a simple squeeze of your hand results in precise control over an application, whether you’re standing up or sitting down.
  • Real Voice: Kinect Real Voice technology focuses on the sounds that matter. Thanks to an all-new multi-microphone array, the advanced noise isolation capability lets the sensor know who to listen to, even in a crowded space.

It beats the original Kinect on almost every level. Microsoft believes its Natural User Interface (NUI) benefits will impact multiple industries, from retail and manufacturing to healthcare, education, communications, and so on. We don’t doubt it.

See also – Microsoft updates Kinect for Windows SDK with background removal, color capture, other new APIs and samples and Microsoft releases three videos showing off how Kinect for Windows can work for retailers

Top Image Credit: Microsoft