Microsoft releases Kinect for Windows SDK beta

The Kinect SDK for Windows 7 lets you plug a standard XBox Kinect sensor unit into your PC and use it to develop unique motion-driven games and applications.

Kinect is *the* hot item for the XBox 360, and today Microsoft released a toolkit that will enable developers to take advantage of the motion sensing controller in Windows 7 as well. The Kinect for Windows SDK beta includes the following features:

  • Raw sensor streams - Access to raw data streams from the depth sensor, color camera sensor, and four-element microphone array enables developers to build upon the low-level streams that are generated by the Kinect sensor.
  • Skeletal tracking - The capability to track the skeleton image of one or two people moving within the Kinect field of view make it easy to create gesture-driven applications.
  • Advanced audio capabilities - Audio processing capabilities include sophisticated acoustic noise suppression and echo cancellation, beam formation to identify the current sound source, and integration with the Windows speech recognition API.

Until now developers had to resort to unofficial hacks to access the sensors on Windows and other operating systems. The new SDK officially provides Kinect capabilities to developers who build applications with C++, C#, or Visual Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Developers can get up and running in just a few minutes with a standard standalone Kinect sensor unit (widely available at retail outlets).

The SDK is available for download today. Currently, it can only be used for non-commercial purposes but Microsoft says a commercial version will be released later.

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