Microsoft shares more on Kinect developer kit for hobbyists

Summary:Remember the Kinect software development kit (SDK) that Microsoft officials showed off earlier this year? Microsoft officials shared more details about what's coming in that SDK on April 13 at the Mix '11 conference.

Remember the Kinect software development kit (SDK) that Microsoft officials showed off earlier this year? Microsoft officials shared more details about what's coming in that SDK on April 13 at the Mix '11 conference.

In February, Microsoft Research and Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business unit announced they were building a an SDK for individuals who want to build Windows apps that use the Microsoft Kinect sensor. The plan, they said, was to roll out a version of this SDK for academics and hobbyists some time this spring. Officials also said they were planning to deliver a version that could be used by those seeking to create commercial apps, but there was no time frame announced for delivery of that version.

Today, officials said developers can sign up to be notified of the coming spring beta release. They didn't share any more details about the timing beyond "spring."

The SDK beta for hobbyists will be out on May 16, according to Microsoft Research.

Update: Microsoft officials said the May 16 date, tweeted by Microsoft Research, is not a correct date. All the company will say is the SDK is coming this spring.

Microsoft officials said in February that the coming SDK would give users access to “deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor.” Even without an official SDK, developers have been creating a variety of Kinect “hacks” since Microsoft rolled out the sensor in the November 2010.

Today at Mix, officials said the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK from Microsoft Research will include:

* skeletal tracking for one or two persons * advanced audio capabilities, including four-element microphone array with acoustic noise and echo cancellation; beam formation to identify the current sound source; and integration with the Windows speech recognition API * XYZ depth camera for standard color camera stream access and depth data that will indicate the distance of the object from the Kinect camera

Microsoft is highlighting some showcase applications developed with the SDK, including a Kinect-powered version of the Worldwide Telescope.

Topics: Software, IT Employment, Microsoft

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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