Microsoft Isn’t Done With Kinect Yet

Posted on May 7, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Cloud, Hardware with 8 Comments

Kinect is back. Yes.

After ending production of the original Kinect hardware for Xbox One last year and the Kinect adapter for the Xbox One earlier this year, no one really expected Kinect to make a comeback. Microsoft brought most of the tech from Kinect to HoloLens, but now it’s bringing some of Kinect’s industry-defining tech to hardware developers too.

At Build 2018 today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Project Kinect for Azure. Microsoft’s latest stab at keeping Kinect alive involves a package of sensors with onboard AI. The system is powered by Microsoft’s next-gen depth camera and its “industry-defining” Time of Flight sensor in a small, power-efficient form factor.

The product is powered by Azure AI and it can be used by hardware developers to integrate AI on the intelligent edge with their products, offering such features as real-time hand tracking, high-fidelity spatial mapping, and more. In addition to the new Project Kinect for Azure, Microsoft is opening up its other applications for edge devices. It’s open-sourcing the Azure IoT Edge runtime, and it’s also bringing Azure Cognitive Services to IoT Edge, starting with Custom Vision.

Elsewhere, Microsoft is bringing its speech recognition tech to developers with the new Speech Devices SDK. This new software development kit will enable developers to utilize Microsoft’s speech recognition tech on their products, which will allow for improved speech recognition thanks to its noise cancellation and far-field voice tech.

This year’s Build 2018 introduces lots of new Azure and AI products that are aimed at edge devices and developers that build for edge computing. What I am really interested to see, however, is how developers make use of Microsoft’s Project Kinect for Azure on their products.

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Microsoft Isn’t Done With Kinect Yet”

  1. jbinaz

    I think it's hilarious that Nadella is still speaking, and unless I missed it (it's currently 8:50 a.m. PDT) has yet to mention the Kinect but we have the article announcing it...

  2. Rob_Wade

    Am I the only one who seriously doubts we'll see much at all done with a number of these new features?

  3. OwenM

    When they announced the discontinuation of Kinect, I did wonder about the few developers who were using it for non-gaming related projects. For example, I do see Kinect pop up now and then as part of interactive exhibit in museums. Guess this sort of answers the question.

  4. Winner

    "At Build 2018 today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Project Kinect for Azure."

    Now your system administrator can administer his cloud system by dancing around in his cubicle.

  5. glenn8878

    Uh, they need it for Windows 10 as a PC accessory. I highly doubt it will be back. They never bothered to get it beyond a developer kit. They need to bring it back for Xbox.

  6. Jules Wombat

    This is interesting, taking a consumer product, and handing that compelling technology back to developers and OEMs. I just wish it was not so Azure branded, as I would hope that more OEMs and evelopers would see opporunties in standalone embedded device vision and intelligence opportunties.

    Good stuff here, just a bit messed up on branding as usual.

  7. Care

    I hope some developer makes an Xbox Kinect replacement with it. I got my Xbox specifically to Skype family. We can virtually hang out together in each others' living rooms. Still hoping the Kinects we've got last a while.