Microsoft is adjusting firmware and optimizing certain hardware components to ready its Kinect motion-sensing input device for PCs running Windows, the company said Tuesday. Microsoft currently sells Kinect as a peripheral for its Xbox 360 game consoles, but has announced a Kinect for Windows commercial program that begins in early 2012.
"Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for," Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, wrote in a blog post.
"Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals," Eisler elaborated. "Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. 'Near Mode' will enable a whole new class of 'close up' applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums, and we're pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch."
The announcement comes the same day that Microsoft acquired VideoSurf for $70 million with an eye towards integrating the San Mateo, Calif.-based company's online video search technology into its Xbox Live ecosystem.
The next featured gadget in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide is the Twelve South PlugBug. It's a device that's so simple that it's hard to believe no one has come up with this until now. The PlugBug snaps onto your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air wall charger, giving you a powered USB port in the process. The results? You can then charge both your Apple notebook, and a USB device (like an iPhone or iPad) at the same time, using just one outlet. Genuis! This means that when you're on the go, you can carry one less charger, and you'll have one less outlet to try and find. You can get the PlugBug on Amazon for $34.
Read More | PlugBug
The device is currently shipping within one to three business days.
"OS X Lion is available on a USB thumb drive for installation without the need for a broadband Internet connection," Apple said on its Web site. "Just plug the drive into your USB port and follow the instructions to install."
Seagate on Monday announced the availability of the new GoFlex Turbo hard drive, with a speedy 7200 rpm drive speed as well as SafteyNet data recovery.
The GoFlex Turbo gets its speedy moniker by first using a 7,200 rpm hard drive mechanism, faster than the usual 5,400 rpm mechanisms found in portable hard drives. It extends the speed with an included USB 3.0 interface, which is also compatible with older USB 2.0 ports (at a slower speed). Last, but not least, the drive has "Turbo" lettering on the side of the hard drive's case, which of course lets you know that this drive is the fast one.
Today eBay caught our attention with their awesome deal on the Toshiba Canvio 1TB USB 2.0/3.0 portable hard drive, so we're making it our Deal of the Day. This is a great price on a USB 3.0-compatible device, and these normall sell for $140, but this deal gets it to you for $84, saving you 39% off the regular price. Shipping is free:
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread. Oh, and if you're on Twitter, be sure to follow @TechPromos for the latest deals, or you can Like TechPromos on Facebook.
Read More | Toshiba Canvio deal
Today Ubiquisys announced a new smartphone accessory called attocell; a personal femtocell for the iPhone and other 3G mobile phones. "This remarkable device is a personal mobile phone signal, with a range so tiny it can be used anywhere that your laptop has an internet connection. It provides a great mobile service anywhere in the world, and calls are made and received as though on the home country network."
Depending on the local signal regulations, the device can operate in either the 5mm mode, or it can broadcast a signal within a room. This allows the attocell to intelligently scan the surrounding cellular networks and make sure that it does not have any negative impact on the local operators cell signal.
Travellers across the globe will soon be able to carry the attocell along on their trips, and avoid paying those hefty international roaming rates.
Read More | Ubiquisys Attocell
PC gamers have always had a leg up on us console shooters as far as precision goes. There's no match for a mouse and keyboard, even though the Xbox 360 controller managaes to get the job done quite well. Previous mouse/keyboard translators failed to mimic the true PC control feel through console because of the unique levels of "aim-assist" that console shooters incorporated. However, the Xbox Input Machine (XIM3) boasts what they call "Smart Translator" technology that manages to override the console aim schemes and reproduce true precision aiming just like true PC shooters. XIM3 includes a touch-screen display that is much more sophisticated than previous models, and can also connect with any Xbox 360 controller. Hopefully this will mean that the XIM3 is both easier to configure and cheaper than past XIMs.
XIM3 is configured to run with such popular FPS console shooters as Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops. Check out the video of how it works on Halo: Reach below.
- Game on your Xbox 360 using your favorite PC gaming-grade hardware
- Mice, Keyboards, Joysticks, and Gameboard compatibility
- Unsurpassed in-game feel thanks to advanced Smart Translator technology
- Simple configuration through an on-board full-color LCD screen
- Firmware upgradable
- Active community forum
Read More | XIM3
The Luxeed Dynamic Pixel LED Keyboard features 430 individual LEDs to light up the board in literally every spectrum across the rainbow. Heck, you can even customize your keyboard to display a rainbow effect of colors. Not to mention that the keys can be programmed to light up individually as pressed. Furthermore, the four preset buttons change the "skin" of the keyboard, attributing unique glowing skins to run with certain video games. For instance, each key can glow in accordance to the buttons used for that game, or could just show illuminated patterns and designs.
The Luxeed LED Keyboard comes as black or white, and is available for $129.99.
- 430 LEDs that dynamically change the color of each key
- Individual key LED programming
- Custom illuminated key layouts with 4 preset buttons
- Animated rainbow effect, or animated random key colors
- "Spark" mode allows keys to illuminate only when pressed
- Standard USB connection
- Keyboard Dimensions: 15" x 7.5" x 1"
- Plug & Play (P&P) for onboard color control, or Software Controlled (SWC) for more advanced functions. Drivers are available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Read More | ThinkGeek
Yesterday we hit you with our iHome iB969 Charging Station review, and we like the product so much that we though it was appropriate to add it to our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. In a nutshell, this thing can charge four devices at once. We've had it charging an iPod touch, iPhone 4, and Amazon Kindle while also charging and syncing an iPad all at once. It fits nicely on a desk or nightstand and makes a nice gift for a techie or a family with multiple USB and iOS devices. It makes things easy, and that makes it worthy of being a great, inexpensive holiday gift.
You can pick up the iHome iB969 Charging Station now for $59.99, or as low as $41.21 from Amazon.
It can charge up to four devices at once, while syncing one of the four with iTunes. The expandable rest area comfortably holds a BlackBerry (charging it over USB) or ebook reader, and the integrated cable management keep things looking tidy. The iPad gets its own stand on the device, which will hold it horizontally or vertically, whatever your preference.