Microsoft to debut new Kinect for Windows this summer

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Just a few days after showing off photos of the new Kinect for Windows, Microsoft announced at its Build conference that the motion-tracking device will hit shelves sometime this summer.

The Redmond software giant previously said that the Kinect for Windows v2 would be arriving in 2014, but hadn’t specified a time. Microsoft notes that developers will be able to build Windows Store apps with the Kinect for Windows for the first time, which “not only fulfills a dream of our developer community, it also marks an important step forward in Microsoft’s vision of providing a unified development platform across Windows devices, from phones to tablets to laptops and beyond.” 

Kyle Kesterson, CEO of Seattle startup Freak'n Genius, was featured in Microsoft's new Kinect for Windows video.

Kyle Kesterson, CEO of Seattle startup Freak’n Genius, was featured in Microsoft’s new Kinect for Windows video.

The new Kinect for Windows v2 looks nearly identical to the Kinect for Xbox One, with a few minor changes: There’s a “Kinect” emblem on the top panel, and the Xbox Nexus on the right side has been changed to small circular power indicator.

Just like the Kinect for Xbox One, the device features a number of upgrades from its predecessor, including 1080p HD video, improved skeletal tracking, a wider field of view and active infrared detection. Microsoft also noted that support for Unity is coming next summer.

Back in May, then-Director of Kinect for Windows Bob Heddle told us that the new Kinect would “dramatically benefit” companies using the device, from interactive retail experiences, rehabilitation and fitness, and education uses cases.

“We really see Kinect as the eyes and ears of computers,” Heddle said. “The new capabilities will let computers be much smarter and let them better understand the people in the room.”

Microsoft, which has not specified any price points, launched its Kinect for Windows v2 Developer Preview Program this past summer.

Here’s a video Microsoft played at Build, which features Kyle Kesterson, CEO of Seattle startup Freak’n Genius.