Microsoft Kinect is now a $399, PC-compatible, cloud-friendly developer kit

Microsoft Azure Kinect DK launched for $399, will help developers to build AI algorithms.


Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 has kicked off today and global tech giants Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia and Microsoft have already showcased their premium products. While the OEMs unveiled an array of products including foldable phones and 5G-compatible smartphones, Microsoft at its MWC 2019 press brief introduced the HoloLens 2 — its next-gen mixed reality headset.

Microsoft Kinect is now a 9, PC-compatible, cloud-friendly developer kit

Microsoft Azure Kinect Developer Kit launched at $399

However, HoloLens 2 wasn’t the only product Microsoft announced at its MWC 2019 keynote. The Redmond-based company also took the wraps off Azure Kinect Developer Kit (DK).

The Azure Kinect Developer Kit is a PC peripheral and is designed to connect to the cloud and be used for computer vision-related tasks without the need of a computer.

The PC peripheral includes Microsoft ‘s latest AI sensors and spatial 7-microphone array for computer vision and speech solutions. The Azure Kinect combines a 1 MP depth sensor, the same ToF (time of flight) sensor developer for HoloLens 2 with a 12 MP camera and the spatial microphone array all in one package. The developer kit is less than 5 inches long and 1.5 inches thick.

It works with a range of ‘compute types’ and has an “intelligent edge” in which the Azure Kinect DK can capture a high level of visual and auditory information and interpret those inputs.

To recall, Kinect initially as an Xbox 360 accessory for motion sensing to enable users to control games with gestures. But the experimental, motion-controlled camera and microphone array for games died in 2017, mostly because nobody really knew what to do with it. Microsoft, however, announced Project Kinect for Azure at its Build 2018 Conference last year.

The new Azure Kinect DK will enable developers to use less power in potential applications and use AI on images to deploy AI algorithms on smaller networks, The Verge points out. Notably, Microsoft has partnered with healthcare company Ocuvera who is using the Azure Kinect sensor to stop patients from falling in hospitals and care homes. Microsoft has announced that the new Azure Kinect DK will be available for preorder for $399 from 24 February, and it will initially be released in China and the US market.

As always, you can head here if you wish to keep yourself apprised about the latest developments at MWC 2019