Microsoft's Monday keynote introduced the fourth generation of the company's Kinect sensor during Build 2018 in Seattle.
The latest iteration, Project Kinect for Azure, gives enterprise companies the power of spatial understanding for connected devices in their factories and facilities. The new sensor will also power the next iteration of HoloLens.
"One of the things that makes Project Kinect for Azure unique and compelling is the combination of our category-defining depth-sensor with our Azure AI services that, together, will enable developers to make the intelligent edge more perceptive than ever before," wrote Kipman, technical fellow for the Operating System Group at Microsoft, in a LinkedIn post.
Kipman outlined the technical specs for the sensor, which boasts the "highest number of pixels (megapixel resolution 1024x1024)" and lower power consumption. The sensor is capable of capturing near and far objects accurately with automatic per pixel gain selection. The sensor includes a global shutter for improved performance in sunlight and uses a multiphase depth calculation method for a high degree of accuracy in a wide variety of hardware configurations. Finally, the module comes at a lower cost due to its ability to maintain low peak current operation.
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"Project Kinect for Azure unlocks countless new opportunities to take advantage of Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and IoT Edge," wrote Kipman. "We envision that Project Kinect for Azure will result in new AI solutions from Microsoft and our ecosystem of partners, built on the growing range of sensors integrating with Azure AI services. I cannot wait to see how developers leverage it to create practical, intelligent and fun solutions that were not previously possible across a raft of industries and scenarios."
The sensor opens up a wide range of possibilities for companies to optimize and automate their factories and various machines operate intelligently on their own. For augmented reality enthusiasts, though, the announcement gives a tease of what may be coming for the next HoloLens.
If you'd like to get your hands on the new Kinect Sensor, you can fill out this survey to apply for the development kit once it's released.