Microsoft is accepting preorders for the new version of Kinect for Windows. Based on the Kinect developed for the Xbox One, the device features a few improvements over its predecessor, which was released alongside Kinect for Xbox 360.
Kinect for Windows v2 can capture full HD video, whereas the first Kinect for Windows recorded in 1280 x 960 resolution. The software has also been changed to use the graphics processing unit for some tasks instead of the central processor.
"The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor gives developers more of the precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities they need to develop interactive voice- and gesture-based applications for the Windows desktop and Windows Store," says Microsoft.
The Windows version of the Kinect is not marketed toward gaming, but toward productivity. The device can be used to navigate and interact with supported software from a distance, enabling those with no desire to purchase an Xbox One to benefit from some of the same features. Kinect allows users to interact with the computer through voice and gesture commands, which can be useful for those who connect their computers to a TV to watch movies or videos.
Kinect has also been used in a number of business environments. Retail stores have used the device to create interactive displays. An advertisement for Gold Jay Z cologne showed passers-by an image of themselves covered in liquid gold. Kinect is also being used by Amana in an interactive appliance display that tracks customer movements to determine which products they appear to be interested in. Kinect for Windows is also being used by some hospitals.
"Doctors and nurses are using Kinect for Windows to navigate through critical documents in the operating room by gesturing -- allowing them to remain sterile and save time. Also, gesture-based training enables doctors to practice their surgical skills in a more realistic environment -- and for less than the cost of surgical simulators," Microsoft says.
Kinect for Windows v2 is priced at $199. A limited number of devices are available early to allow developers to get their hands on it early. Kinect will begin shipping July 15. A full release of the device will be coming later this year.