Azure Kinect developer kit hits general availability, preorders begin shipping

Azure Kinect DK
Azure Kinect DK (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's Azure Kinect developer kit is now generally available.
  • The kit is built upon the remains of the Xbox's Kinect sensor, but built and improved specifically for businesses.
  • The Azure Kinect DK is available for $400 at Microsoft for developers.

Ahead of the start of the Microsoft Inspire conference's official kickoff next week, Microsoft has announced that its Azure Kinect developer kit (DK) is now generally available. The kit initially went up for preorder in February for $400, but it's now ready for all developers to check out.

While Kinect ended up being a consumer failure in the gaming space, Microsoft has continued to improve upon the technology for business applications. Azure Kinect was born out of those efforts, using computer vision technology to support new applications by Microsoft's business partners.

The Azure Kinect DK unit includes a 12MP RGB camera paired with a 1MP depth camera. Combined with a 360-degree microphone array and an orientation sensor, the unit can be used for "building advanced computer vision and speech models." And just like the Xbox Kinect before it, Azure Kinect can be used for "sophisticated body tracking." of multiple people.

Microsoft says it's already seeing some interesting uses of Azure Kinect in the business space. Ocuvera, for example, is using the camera in hospital rooms to monitor patients. The depth sensor can be used to see if someone is just rolling over in their bed or trying to stand up, which can help nurses get to a room before patients potentially fall out of bed.

The Azure Kinect DK is now generally available in the U.S. and China, and it will begin shipping to those who preordered now. Microsoft Inspire is set to begin on July 14, with the opening keynotes scheduled for July 15. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith will take the stage on July 17.

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Bose Companion 2 Series III speakers ($99 at Dell)

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl