Devin Coldewey

The Windows release of Kinect is coming up in a couple days, but for most people that won’t be a major event: the Kinect they have is sitting on their TV or in a drawer, waiting to be taken out for an impromptu Dance Central 2 party. Of the 10 million Kinects out there, the only ones connected to computers are the ones being fiddled with by the various hackers and students making science projects out the things.

But according to the Daily, Microsoft is hoping to remedy this particular situation by building Kinect sensors right into your laptops. TechCrunch alum Matt Hickey got to handle a pair of prototypes, which were confirmed to be official, not just one of the many experiments that hide within Microsoft’s various lairs.

Unfortunately the laptops were not ready for their debut and no pictures seem to have been permitted. But they are described as netbook-like, with a number of smaller sensors instead of a webcam, and what could be an IR LED at the bottom of the screen.

The inclusion of depth-sensing cameras on a laptop is an interesting idea, and if they can drive the price of the sensor array down, it might become a standard feature. Microsoft has clearly also been focusing on miniaturizing the Kinect hardware, as the bulky original would seem somewhat out of place on a petite netbook. Whether this smaller sensor set has the same capabilities as the larger isn’t clear and wasn’t discussed.

A smaller Kinect would also suggest that Microsoft’s next console, rumored to have Kinect built in, is nearing readiness. While many gaming industry insiders have discounted the idea that the next generation of consoles will be announced this year, the rumor mill says otherwise.



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