Attention, Developers: Kinect Comes to Windows

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The buried lead in Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote address and swansong at the Consumer Electronics Show in January was the announcement of a Kinect peripheral for Windows. The camera-based motion controller made famous by the Xbox 360 console enables players to use hand gestures and voice activation instead of a physical controller.

The Microsoft Kinect Motion Sensing Gaming Controller for Windows started shipping this month (February), but it’s targeted—for now—at developers. The tethered camera comes with a USB cable that plugs into a computer. Beyond gesture control, Kinect sports an array of microphones that empowers voice commands.

Though some 18 million Kinect controllers for Xbox 360 have been sold since the peripheral’s launch in late 2010, it will take time for the new version to catch up since there is currently a dearth of Windows applications that support the device. Developers download the Kinect for Windows Software Developers Kit (Beta) from Microsoft. Kinect for Windows is compatible with Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview.

OS Requirements Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7 or Windows 8 Developer Preview (desktop applications only)
Hardware Requirements 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, Dual-core 2.66 GHz or faster processor, Dedicated USB 2.0 bus, 2GB RAM
Weight 2 lb