How to extend USB-C for Azure Kinect
The Azure Kinect had just been released as the successor for Kinect v2, AKA Kinect for Xbox One. Other than aiming for the consumer gaming market as Kinect v2, Azure Kinect is re-designed specifically for professional applications such as robotic automation, volumetric capture, skeleton tracking, and mixed reality when it is used with HoloLens from Microsoft. Azure Kinect includes one 1MP depth sensor, one 4K RGB camera, 7 mic arrays, and external pins for synchronization. Azure Kinect is expected to enable many more applications for developers with merely half of the size and weight of its predecessor.
In terms of interfaces, the Azure Kinect keeps the same 5Gbps SuperSpeed USB data rate, and upgrades the connector port to USB-C. The Azure Kinect package includes one USB A to C cable and one USB power cable. If using Azure Kinect with A to C cables, users also need to connect the USB power cable to the included 5V power adapter. However, if using a full feature C to C cable to connect the Azure Kinect to a USB-C host, user doesn’t need to use the power adapter. Since the power will be provided by the USB-C host by taking advantage of USB-C PD feature, users can have a simple one-cable connection for their setup.
Enable longer Connection Ranges for Azure Kinect
The USB cable included with Azure Kinect is 5 ft. (1.5m), which is too short for many applications Azure Kinect designed for. Longer distances in various ranges, as illustrated below, are necessary for many user senerios.
Short Range (2 – 5m)
At this range, only premium quality of passive USB 3.1 cables with high signal integrity will support the bandwidth required by Azure Kinect. Newnex's variety of USB 3.1 cables, including USB-IF certified USB C to C cables, are ideal for applications like autonomous robot, surveillance drone, etc.
Mid-Range (5 – 20m)
At this range, an active USB 3.1 cable will be needed for ensuring the signal integrity for Azure Kinect connections. However, not all active cables are with equal quality, active cables with low signal latency and high power efficiency, like Newnex's award winning FireNEX™ Active Cable series, are the choices to work with Kinect extension for the optimal performance. Typical mid-range applications are volumetric film, interactive staging, etc.
Long Range (20 – 300m)
At this range, only USB 3.1 optical repeaters are capable of repeating the USB signal to such long distances for Azure Kinect. Newnex FireNEX™ optical repeater series can extend Azure Kinect up to 300m with solid performance for applications deployed in sports stadium, buidling to building connection etc.