Microsoft Azure Kinect could power the next generation of VR

Microsoft wants to make creating AI-powered apps simpler than ever with a new developer kit that harnesses the power of both Azure and HoloLens.

At its launch event at MWC 2019 in Barcelona today, the computing giant unveiled the Azure Kinect Developer Kit, a single device that combines all of the company’s high-end AI sensors in one place.

That’s right – the Kinect technology first rolled out to aid Xbox gaming is being boosted by some powerful AI tools such as depth and motion-sensing technology.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Azure Kinect

Azure Kinect can be used to help developers create services that better understand the physical world, meaning richer virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Using a new time of flight depth sensor developed for its newly-announced HoloLens 2 headset, Azure Kinect can accurately sense depth and pinpoint how human bodies move.

The sensor is paired with a high-definition RGB camera and a 7-microphone circular array to enable greater accuracy than ever before.

Microsoft says this could cover a wide range of use cases, mentioning an existing trial which is helping detect patients who could suffer a potentially fatal fall whilst in a hospital. Azure Kinect is being used by a healthcare tech firm called Ocuvera to determine early clues to the most at-risk patients, and notify a nurse to tend to them before they fall.

Preorders for the Azure Kinect DK are open today starting at $399, however only the US and China will initially be able to do so, with more countries hopefully following soon.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

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