Much to the delight of hackers looking to tinker around with the Kinect peripheral, Microsoft released the Kinect SDK for Windows earlier this year, with an updated version hitting just this month. Microsoft isn’t stopping there, however – they announced today plans to release new Kinect hardware for PCs built specifically with Windows in mind.
Specifics of the device are unknown at this point, but Microsoft did say that the hardware will see a few updates when the PC version is released sometime next year. For starters, the new firmware will allow the camera to focus in on objects as close as 50 centimeters away, all without losing any accuracy or precision, Microsoft claims.
Microsoft also says that the Windows version of the Kinect hardware will see several other improvements to make it more suitable for use in a desktop environment. The USB cable will be shorter, for example, and there’s suggestion that the design of the device itself may see a few changes as well. The company briefly touched on a “Near Mode” for the device, which, as the name suggests, allows for improved functionality at shorter distances.
There’s no word at the moment exactly when in 2012 the device is expected to release.