Microsoft is really onto something with the Kinect. Sure, it's not that great for games, but developers are doing some amazing things with it in the application space. It's only going to get more amazing next year as the new and improved Kinect comes to PC.
At its annual BUILD developer conference, Microsoft announced that it's opening up applications for preorders for the new Kinect for Windows sensor. It's the very same Kinect that will ship with the Xbox One later this year so it has the improved camera that can reportedly detect heartbeats.
The new Kinect for Windows sensor won't be available until next year, but interested developers can get their hands on one this year. To do so, you must apply to take part in the Kinect for Windows developer kit program. If you are accepted, you'll be given a chance to pay Microsoft $400 for the following:
You could argue that $400 is a little too much for this, but you are getting two Kinect sensors. Granted, we don't know how much the new Kinect will cost separately as Microsoft is packing one into every Xbox One sold. Those retail for $500, and the original Kinect retails for $150, so it stands to reason that the new Kinect will probably retail for $200. In short, you're paying for two Kinect sensors - one for this year to start developing for and a final unit for next year.
If the idea of developing for the next generation Kinect appeals to you, you can apply to the Kinect for Windows development kit program here. All applications must be turned in by July 31 and Microsoft will notify successful applicants in August. Those were accepted can expect to get their alpha Kinect sensor in November.