Articles about Kinect

Kinect now supports Windows 8, Virtual Machines, and China

Microsoft has rolled out a major update to the Kinect motion control runtime and SDK for Windows machines on Monday, unlocking new data tools for developers and allowing Kinect to perform in lower light and at longer ranges.

Perhaps the biggest part of the SDK update on Monday is its vastly broadened availability. The Kinect SDK now features Windows 8 compatibility, which gives developers the ability to make apps for the soon-to-be-released next version of Windows. It also features compatibility with Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare and Parallels, letting Kinect control virtual machines as well. Finally, the Kinect for Windows SDK is now available in the largest market in the world, China.

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Why would Microsoft limit the Windows Phone 8 Preview Program SDK?

Microsoft's plan to only let a few key developers into the Windows Phone 8 Preview Program SDK, understandably upsets many developers. For a plaform with only about 3 percent market share, Microsoft needs all the supporters it can get, or so the presumption goes.

Why lock out most of the people needed to develop apps that take advantage of your new platform? I think there could be two possible answers: (1) a new marketplace strategy based on the quality of apps, and (2) major unannounced features.

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Microsoft Slashes Xbox 360 Kinect price

If you live in the right region, the game controller now costs $109.99 US, Microsoft revealed today. Say, didn't Kinect sell for $149.99 yesterday? That's a helluva discount out of season.

Microsoft's Larry Hyrb describes this as a "permanently reduced price". Well, it is for some -- North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific now and Australia and New Zealand on October 4. Europe, Middle East, Asia and Japan won't see permanent price cuts.

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Flutter gives you (basic) gesture control of media via your webcam

Gestures are where it's at these days, with the Kinect add-on for Xbox 360 and the motion controls of the Wii allowing for direct interaction with games and other software. Even mobile devices such as Android and iOS phones and tablets are making greater use of gestures rather than just for menus and buttons. Touchscreen displays for Mac and PC make gesture interfaces possible in Windows and OS X, but Flutter enables you to use your webcam to interact using gestures.

As you can tell from the version number (currently 0.1.185), this is a very early version of the software and things are a little limited at the moment – but that’s not to say that it is not still worth taking a look at. At the moment, Flutter can be used to control your media player, enabling you to use basic hand gestures to start and pause music or video playback.

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Leap, the 'pocket Kinect' for PC attracts 26,000 interested developers

In May, San Francisco startup Leap Motion announced Leap, its pocket-sized 3D sensor designed to bring Kinect-like controls to notebook computers. At the time, the company said there would be "thousands" of free developer kits for interested developers who wanted to participate in the developer program. Today, the company has come forward with some numbers to show how staggeringly high interest is in the little peripheral.

Twenty six thousand (26,000) developers in 143 countries and all 50 U.S. states registered to be in Leap's developer program. A remarkable 15,000 of those requests came in the first week of the program's existence.

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Will Microsoft's mystery product be 'clap on, clap off' for mobile?

Cue up the rumormill for anyone's guess what Microsoft will announce at 6:30 pm EDT on Monday. I'll throw out one, inspired by software developer Robert Johnson, who occasionally writes for BetaNews (and we wish it was more often).

"If Mashable is correct and Microsoft really is gonna announce a self-manufactured tablet then it could possibly be a further refinement of the laptop that was rumored a few months ago", he speculated. "Remember how there were reports of people who had seen a device made by Asus that contained Kinect cameras?" Yes I do, and replied: "Kinect mobile has limited applications, but they're big for key enterprise markets, such as healthcare. Otherwise what have you got? 'Clap on, clap off' for PCs".

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Leap promises a pocketable, compact 3D user interface

San Francisco startup Leap Motion today unveiled its killer product, a small USB-attached three dimensional sensor (a la Microsoft's Kinect) which is meant for use in small spaces on small screens. The product is called Leap and is available in limited quantities for just $70.

Leap creates an eight cubic foot interaction space, and Leap Motion says the tiny device is "200 times more sensitive than existing touch-free products and technologies." This is appealing because the current motion control interface of choice, Microsoft's Kinect, is a "living room" experiences which requires users to stand anywhere from six to eight feet away from the sensor. Leap can sit right on your desk and utilize only the space in front of you and around your PC if you so choose. This is one of the next big frontiers in interface design, as Belgium's Softkinetic announced a similar innovation at CES earlier this year, and notebook PC makers are looking to integrate similar features with stereoscopic webcams.

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Microsoft, don't screw the pooch

In late November, I opined why Microsoft is in trouble. A couple of conversations I had over Thanksgiving led me to believe there are tons of misconceptions about Microsoft consumer products, such as: Windows Phone is dead and Windows PCs are nothing but junk.

But I think the company can correct these problems by aggressively taking action in several key areas: Windows 8 hardware requirements, Windows 8 and Windows Phone marketing, synchronization and natural user interfaces.

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Microsoft opens commercial licensing for Kinect for Windows applications

Microsoft on Wednesday launched its Kinect for Windows commercial program, allowing businesses to build for-profit applications and solutions using Microsoft's popular free-space interface.

More than 300 companies are already developing their own solutions using Kinect for Windows, Microsoft said on Wednesday, including United Health Group, American Express, Mattel, Telefonica, and Toyota. So we expect to see a whole family of new Kinect applications hitting the market in the next year for health care, education, and industry.

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Microsoft chucks our reviewer from Xbox Live Update Preview program

Steve Ballmer won't get a Christmas card from me this year. Or next.

Microsoft's assault on BetaNews' Xbox 360 dashboard review continues. I awoke to find a take-down notice waiting in Gmail, for photos posted with the review. A few hours ago, our reviewer, a BetaNews reader, informed me that Microsoft had kicked him out of the Preview program for violating the NDA. But did he?

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Microsoft issues take-down notice for our Xbox 360 dashboard review

Here's something I don't wake up to everyday -- actually never. At 7:35 am ET, BetaNews received an email demanding that we remove photos from the excellent Xbox 360 review penned by one of our readers: "Microsoft requests that you remove the photos, but not the text, of this story, because the images are copyrighted and were released in violation of an NDA".

BetaNews is investigating the matter, and I will appropriately respond. BetaNews respects copyrights and non-disclosure agreements. It's one reason you see so few rumor stories and supporting photos here. We assume that the writer took the photos and that he participated in the Xbox 360 dashboard preview program. Reviewers take photos all the time while under NDA or embargo and publish them after the restriction lifts. BetaNews posted the review (and accompanying photos) after Microsoft publicly announced and released the autumn 2011 Xbox 360 updates. We assume for now that this is a misunderstanding.

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Meet the new Xbox 360 dashboard [slideshow]

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Metro dashboard makes Xbox 360 feel like a brand new console [review]

Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in 2005. The console has been around for just about 6 years, but in that timeframe, through the distribution of numerous software updates, the company has kept the console fresh and competitive. The latest major software update is now available for the 57.7 million Xbox 360 consoles that have been sold worldwide, and with it comes a brand new Metro based user-interface along with a number of fresh capabilities that not only improve the Xbox experience, but moves it several steps closer to being the jack-of-all-trades device of your living room.

In a way, the new Xbox 360 dashboard reflects Microsoft larger ambitions -- a declaration that Xbox is much more than just a games console. It's a full-blown entertainment system that not only competes with the likes of game-industry rivals Sony and Nintendo. It also contends with Apple and Google.

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Microsoft to Apple and Google: 'Bring out your dead!'

Classic comedy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" opens with a body collector calling: "bring out your dead!" "Here's one", replies a man carrying a geezer, who pipes in: "I'm not dead". Major Microsoft competitors -- Apple, Google and their supporters, for example -- have repeatedly tried to give up Microsoft for dead. But today's major Xbox updates clearly proclaim Microsoft isn't dead, or even dying. The Redmond, Wash.-based giant has repositioned the console and supporting cloud services as a whole entertainment package -- more than just about gaming.

If any dead deserve to be brought out, they are Apple and Google. Xbox 360 and Live trailblaze where rumor whores claim Apple TV and Google TV will go. It's pathetic that bloggers and journalists spread rumors about Apple's future TV plans -- the newest about a television coming in three sizes -- a year from now! How the frak could anyone possibly know? Instead of what might be, how about writers focus on what is? Some commenters accuse me of linkbaiting. Apple future product rumors are real prime examples. You won't read them from me.

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Microsoft's 'future of TV' isn't in my house

I need your help. For weeks, I've asked Microsoft and its PR agency for Xbox 360 and Kinect loaner for review. BetaNews never reviewed Kinect, and I surely wanted to report on the big, splashy Xbox updates coming this week. Xbox 360 and Live are getting major entertainment makeovers, and I wanted to give BetaNews readers all the juicy details. New game console isn't in my budget, and I certainly wouldn't buy one just to review an update, no matter how big.

I ask the BetaNews community to chip in and offer reaction -- even to review -- the new Xbox 360 dashboard and exciting Xbox Live services -- and companion app for Windows Phone. Even if Microsoft suddenly shipped Xbox 360 and Kinect, I would still start from behind in the review process. The dashboard update comes tomorrow. Your participation is vital to getting out information to other readers, who might be debating whether to buy Xbox 360 or another console during the holidays. Please share your experiences in comments, or email joe at betanews dot com. If you'd like to write a review, email only, please.

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