Microsoft to connect Kinect and robots

On the heels of its Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK), Microsoft is making available a spinoff of it that works with its robotics development toolkit.

On the heels of its Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK), Microsoft is making available a spinoff of it that works with its robotics development toolkit.

On July 13, Microsoft made available for download its Kinect Services for RDS (Robotics Developer Studio), which is built on top of the new Kinect for Windows SDK beta. To start, Kinect Services for RDS is basically a wrapper around the core Kinect SDK enabling developers to use them with the CCR/DSS programming model that is part of RDS.

"However, this is only the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled for updates in the fall. We know that there are many practical issues for applying the Kinect technologies to robotics capabilities that we will be addressing in upcoming RDS releases," according to a new blog post on the Microsoft Robotics Blog.

"A few years ago, we recognized that the dawn of robotics in the consumer market was coming, and asked ourselves how we could drive the technologies that will make robotics relevant to the consumer market. There is very interesting and exciting work that is taking place in academia, research, community, and among many start-ups. We didn’t want to replicate these efforts, so we decided to focus on leveraging Microsoft’s vast portfolio of technologies, and the brainpower of Microsoft Research to develop capabilities, scenarios, and experiences that are necessary to push Robotics over the last 'hump' to become part of our everyday live," post author and General Manager of Microsoft Robotics, Stathis Papaefstathiou, blogged.

I just wondered last week whether Microsoft's robotics effort was still alive, given we've heard next to nothing from that team for ages. Given today's update, it sounds like they're still ticking.

Microsoft rolled out the Kinect for Windows SDK beta for non-commercial use in June. Officials have said there will be a commercial version of the SDK, but have declined to say when.  The beta runs on Windows 7 PCs only and is available under a custom Microsoft academic license. The SDK supports C++, C# or Visual Basic development via Visual Studio 2010, and is under 100 MB in size. The SDK was developed jointly by Microsoft Research and the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business unit.

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