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Appeared on: Thursday, February 02, 2012
Kinect For Windows Is Now Available

Kinect for Windows Version 1.0 of Microsoft's SDK and runtime were made available for download, and the company's distribution partners in twelve launch countries are starting to ship Kinect for Windows hardware.

The suggested retail price is $249, and later this year, Microsoft will offer special academic pricing of $149 for Qualified Educational Users.

In the three months since the company released Beta 2, Microsoft has made many improvements to the SDK and runtime, including:

- Support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer
- Significantly improved skeletal tracking, including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor

- Near Mode for the new Kinect for Windows hardware, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the device
- Many API updates and enhancements in the managed and unmanaged runtimes
- The latest Microsoft Speech components (V11) are now included as part of the SDK and runtime installer
- Improved "far-talk' acoustic model that increases speech recognition accuracy
- New and updated samples, such as Kinect Explorer, which enables developers to explore the full capabilities of the sensor and SDK, including audio beam and sound source angles, color modes, depth modes, skeletal tracking, and motor controls
- A commercial-ready installer which can be included in an application?s set-up program, making it easy to install the Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments.
- Robustness improvements including driver stability, runtime fixes, and audio fixes

More details can be found here.

Microsoft is also planning on releasing updates to its SDK and runtime 2-3 times per year.

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