EETimes: Microsoft confirmed it is developing hardware to bring its Kinect gesture interface to Windows. Microsoft's general manager for Kinect, Craig Eisler said "we have optimized certain hardware components and made firmware adjustments which better enable PC-centric scenarios."
Specifically, Microsoft has enabled a "near mode" for Kinect, allowing "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, one of the most requested [Kinect] features," he said.
Presumably such a mode could open the door to alternatives for keyboards and mice for navigating PCs, tablets and smartphones. Microsoft said more than 200 companies are already participating in its Kinect for Windows program. In a recent blog post, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reiterated his long held view that natural user interfaces such as gestures will be crucial in the future of computing.