Microsoft Launches Kinect for Windows

5:44 PM PST 02/01/2012 by Carolyn Giardina

The Kinect offers speech and audio capabilities, and can see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor.

Microsoft has launched Kinect for Windows PCs, priced at $249.

When Microsoft introduced Kinect for Xbox 360 in 2010, it underscored the promise of motion and voice control, which has been steadily gaining attention in various industries and was a big topic at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Kinect for Windows offers speech and audio capabilities, and can see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the sensor, the company said. It also includes a software developers kit.

“We’re only starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible with Kinect,” said Craig Eisler, general manager for Kinect for Windows, in a statement. “By offering hardware and software that’s designed specifically for Windows applications, we hope to inspire visionaries around the world to create transformative breakthroughs with Kinect — taking its gesture and voice capabilities beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.”

According to Microsoft, more than 300 companies are already developing apps for the technology, including United Health Group, American Express, Mattel, Telefonica and Toyota.

Kinect for Xbox 360 is the fastest selling consumer electronics device, according to Guinness World Records.

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