As "Project Kinect for Azure," the depth-sensing Xbox camera is back.
Dan AckermanEditorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications.
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ExpertiseI've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever.Credentials
Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
At Microsoft Build 2018, the company highlighted new technologies for developers, including one that may sound especially familiar to gamers.
for Azure brings back the Kinect camera, this time for software and AI developers. Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform for writing, testing and deploying applications. The company says the new Kinect will be a package of sensors, including a next-generation depth-sensing camera, with onboard computer hardware.
But the Kinect was discontinued in stages: the Windows version in 2015, original Xbox 360 version in 2016 and the Xbox One version in 2017.
Now that Kinect is coming back. "Project Kinect for Azure empowers new scenarios for developers working with ambient intelligence," Microsoft says. "Combining Microsoft's industry defining Time of Flight sensor with additional sensors all in a small, power-efficient form factor, Project Kinect for Azure will leverage the richness of Azure AI to dramatically improve insights and operations."
During his keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expanded on the idea of Azure AI with his introduction of a speech SDK, allowing hardware makers to easily use Microsoft's speech recognition AI on a wider variety of products. This comes alongside a smart speaker hardware reference kit created by Chinese robot/AI company Roobo. The hope is that this new software/hardware combo can assist speech recognition even in low-volume scenarios with a lot of ambient noise.