Kinect for Windows sensor adds 'Near Mode'

When Kinect officially comes to Windows in early 2012, it'll be accompanied by a new sensor with improvements requested by software developers. Chief among these is support for a new 'Near Mode,' which will be able to see objects as close as 40 centimeters away (that's about 16 inches, 0.43 yards, or 0.0002 miles, for non-decimal readers).

"Building on the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 device, we have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenario," Kinect for Windows general manager Craig Eisler revealed in a blog post.

'Near Mode' will be able to see objects as close as 50cm "without losing accuracy or precision," Eisler explained, while you can get as close as 40cm if you don't mind "graceful degradation."

Better near sight was requested by developers in the Kinect for Windows pilot program, he said, for "close up" applications beyond the "living room scenarios" of the Xbox 360.

On a less exciting note, Eisler also detailed a shorter and more reliable USB cable, and a USB dongle "to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals." A few facts for fans of the Universal Serial Bus, there.