Earlier this yr, at MWC, Microsoft introduced the return of its Kinect sensor within the type of an AI developer equipment. The $399 Azure Kinect DK digicam system features a 1MP depth digicam, 360-degree microphone, 12MP RGB digicam and an orientation sensor, all in a comparatively small bundle. The equipment has been obtainable for pre-order for a couple of months now, however as the corporate introduced right now, it’s now usually obtainable and transport to pre-order clients within the U.S. and China.
In contrast to the unique Kinect, which launched as an Xbox gaming accent that by no means fairly caught on, the Azure Kinect is all enterprise. It’s meant to provide builders a platform to experiment with AI instruments and plug into Azure’s ecosystem of machine studying providers (although utilizing Azure isn’t obligatory).
To assist builders get began, the corporate already launched numerous SDKs, together with a preview of a body-tracking SDK that’s near what it’s possible you’ll keep in mind from the Kinect’s Xbox days.
The core of the digicam has extra to do with Microsoft’s HoloLens than the unique Kinect. As the corporate notes in its press supplies, the Azure Kinect DK customers the identical time-of-flight sensor the corporate developed for the second technology of its HoloLens AR visor. And whereas the main focus right here is clearly on utilizing the digicam, Microsoft additionally notes that the microphone array additionally permits builders to construct subtle speech options.
The corporate is positioning the machine as a straightforward gateway for its customers in well being and life sciences, retail, logistics and robotics to begin experimenting with utilizing depth sensing and machine studying. We’ve seen considerably related dev kits from others, together with Microsoft companion Qualcomm, although these units don’t often have the depth digicam that makes the Kinect DK a Kinect.