During its Build 2018 keynote, Microsoft announced that it is giving the Kinect motion-capture camera a second life with its Azure cloud computing platform. Dubbed “Project Kinect for Azure”, the new Kinect will be loaded with a whole new set of sensors, including a next-generation depth-sensing module plus new on-board computer hardware.
Specs-wise, the new depth-sensing camera module has a resolution of 1MP (1024 x 1024) and a low power consumption randing from 225mW and 950mW. Interestingly enough, this same module will also be the basis of Microsoft’s next-generation HoloLens devices, allowing them to deliver “new capabilities.”
To be very clear, the new Kinect isn’t designed for use with game consoles. Instead, it’s purpose is to serve developers, allowing them to “apply AI over the real world in profound new ways”. Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, expressed hope that with Project Kinect for Azure would “empower new scenarios for developers working with ambient intelligence.”
The Kinect debuted in 2010, when it was first introduced as a peripheral for the Xbox 360. In 2013, Microsoft launched a new and enhanced version of the Kinect, and then bundled it with its Xbox One. Sadly, the Kinect never picked up momentum with gamers. Production for the consumer grade Kinect was officially discontinued in 2017.