Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensing technology was a triumph of innovation and technology, but it was also mostly a failed experiment. In fact, the peripheral almost destroyed the Xbox One before Microsoft stopped bundling them together. Either way, at Mobile World Congress (MWC) today, the company launched Azure Kinect, showing it is not giving up on the technology.
When Microsoft’s 8th generation console launched in 2013, it arrived with the Kinect in the box. That was an error from so many angles and Microsoft acted to remove the sensor from the bundle.
A successor to the original Kinect, Azure Kinect is a depth camera that as the name suggests leverages the power of Azure.
Microsoft is aiming the device at enterprise users, saying it can help them build AI solutions. The device costs $400, which is certainly enterprise grade. For that money, organizations do get market-leading specifications.
Azure Kinect features what Microsoft describes as a best-in-class depth sensor. Elsewhere, there is a 4K camera and a microphone array comprised of 7 mics. Developers and organizations can link directly into Azure, but Microsoft says it also works without cloud.
- 1-MP depth sensor with wide and narrow FOV options which enable the user to optimize for their application
- 7-mic array to enable far-field speech and sound capture
- 12-MP RGB video camera for additional color stream that’s aligned to the depth stream
- Accelerometer and gyroscope (IMU) that enable sensor orientation and spatial tracking
- External sync pins to easily synchronize sensor streams from multiple Kinects simultaneously
Microsoft’s Azure Kinect is available now for pre-order from its store and costs $399.