“Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for,” wrote Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, in a blog post.
“Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals,” Eisler continued. “Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. ‘Near Mode’ will enable a whole new class of ‘close up’ applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums, and we’re pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch.”
This announcement about the PC version of the Kinect comes on the exact same day that Microsoft officially acquired VideoSurf. Microsoft acquired the company, which was founded in 2006, for $70 million. It hopes to incorporate the California-based company’s online video search technology into the Xbox Live system.
According to a statement released by the companies on Tuesday, November 22, VideoSurf “offers a back-end computer vision technology that ‘sees’ frames inside videos to make discovering content fast, easy and accurate.”
“VideoSurf’s content analytics technology will enhance the search and discovery of entertainment content across our platform,” said the director of Xbox Live for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Alex Garden. “This holiday we will launch voice search across our entertainment partners on Xbox Live. Over time, as we integrate VideoSurf’s technology into our system, we are excited about the potential to have content tagged in real time to increase the speed and relevance of the search results.”
According to Microsoft, the acquisition would “make it easier for world-class video partners to take full advantage of advanced features such as voice search enabled by Kinect for Xbox 360.”
Microsoft also said that in the next few months it will bring “nearly 40 world-leading TV and entertainment providers to Xbox Live.” These will include Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS, and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K.; Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and Mediaset in Italy.
“Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Division is at the leading edge of connected entertainment,” said Lior Delgo, the CEO and co-founder of VideoSurf, in the statement that they released with Microsoft. “We are incredibly excited to be working together on our mutual passion for creating amazing consumer experiences and reinventing how consumers search, discover and enjoy content on their televisions.”
Source: PCMag – Microsoft Preps Kinect for PCs Hardware, Firmware