Microsoft releases beta Kinect SDK for Windows

Enterprising PC users have been doing very cool things with the Kinect motion controller that Microsoft sells for its Xbox 360 console. Redmond was quick to encourage hackers and even said the device’s interface was left open to make meddling easier. After promising an official developer kit, Microsoft has finally released a beta version of the Kinect for Windows SDK. The ~22MB download is available free of charge in 32- and 64-bit flavors. You’ll need to be running Windows 7 along with a 2010 edition of Visual Studio, though.

The SDK offers access to raw data captured by Kinect’s depth sensor, color camera, and microphone array. You also get skeletal tracking for up to two people and a handful of audio processing goodies that’ll cancel echoes, supress noise, and figure out which of those two skeletons is talking. Sample code and some pretty extensive documentation are a part of the package, as well.

Interestingly, the SDK is licensed for "non-commercial use only." A commercial SDK is coming, but Microsoft warns that applications created with the beta won’t necessarily port over nicely.

Restrictions aside, the release of an official SDK can only serve to further popularize Microsoft’s motion controller, which has sold more than 10 million units since being introduced in November of last year. I wonder how many of those will end up hooked up to a PC.

Comments closed
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 9 years ago

    Can’t wait to hear after analysis of this SDK is done why Kinect is required to use voice command on Kinect-enabled games like Mass Effect 3. I mean, there’s GOT to be a good reason. Most people with a 360 have a mic on a headset so noise cancellation and player identification isn’t really THAT important when you know who’s talking and the mic is near their mouth.

    Can’t wait to hear about ALL those calculations being done internally in the co-processor-less Kinect that make it so these voice command options that nearly all Kinect-enabled titles will have are simply incapable of being done on PS3 or even much-higher-end PC’s.

      • C-A_99
      • 9 years ago

      It’s probably just software related. MS sells voice recognition software as part of the Kinect package and makes it much easier to implement voice recognition in games with much of the needed coding already in place. Otherwise, developers would have to create or license 3rd party voice recognition software and are probably too lazy to bother, or perhaps MS gave some other incentive to give Kinect exclusivity.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        even more so they know that every Kinect game can use voice recognition, so can build it into the core of the gaming experience if they so wish. With normal xbox games they can have options for it, but cant depend on having it. For the small cost of a microphone or 2 and software (which they already had) its worth it.

    • wingless
    • 9 years ago

    They need this to happen ASAP to make the Windows 8 promise a reality. Touchscreen displays cost a lot more than a friggin Kinect.

    • Anonim1979
    • 9 years ago

    I wonder how it is posible to make a good control scheme for FPS using Kinect on PC:
    [url<][/url<] And on X360 the same Kinect is used in such retarded ways - using full body tracking that fails hard, waveing hands in the air, or puting player on rails....

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    So there’s hope for [url=<]Gmail Motion[/url<] after all?

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