Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

Summary: Microsoft is making available to testers for download on June 16 a beta build of a software development kit (SDK) that enables the company's Kinect sensor to work with Windows 7 PCs.

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Microsoft is making available to testers for download on June 16 a beta build of a software development kit (SDK) that enables the company's Kinect sensor to work with Windows 7 PCs.

Today's Kinect for Windows SDK beta, available from http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk, is for non-commercial use only. It is targeted at researchers, academics and hobbyists. Microsoft is still planning on delivering a commercial-use version of the SDK, executives said today, but they are still not saying when that will happen.

The Kinect SDK beta that's available today is not open-sourced (nor are any of its component parts). It 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.

Last fall, after Kinect initially came to market, some Microsoft execs hinted the company planned to prosecute those hacking the Kinect sensor to make it work with platforms beyond the Xbox gaming console, for which it was designed. But Microsoft execs changed their tune in short order, welcoming those who wanted to experiment with the Kinect platform

To kick-start development with the newly-released SDK, Microsoft invited 35 academics, students and other developers to campus for a Kinect SDK Code Camp. After presenting the attendees with three hours of information about the SDK, Microsoft officials gave them 24 hours to build something using the SDK. Microsoft is broadcasting the results of their work on its Channel 9 site starting at 12:30 p.m. ET today.

The Kinect for Windows SDK includes raw sensor streams from the Kinect cameras and microphone arrays for those who want to access the low-level programming interfaces. It also provides skeletal tracking capabilities for up to two people for those who want to create gesture-centric applications, as well as audio elements that are integrated directly with Microsoft's Speech API (SAPI). The SDK also includes 100 pages of documentation, reusable code samples and code walk-throughs. Microsoft is seeking feedback from the community on the SDK. There's no word on when Microsoft plans to take this SDK out of beta.

"Kinect is just the beginning of our vision for NUI (natural user interface)," said Microsoft Research Distinguished Scientist Anoop Gupta.

Gupta said Microsoft wants to get developers to think beyond entertainment and games as to where Kinect-based applications could make sense. Gupta said he expects to see telepresence/teleconferencing, manufacturing, retail billboard, automotive and lots of other categories to be big among Kinect developers as the SDK moves from non-commercial to commercial.

Gupta noted that by using multiple Kinects, developers can build whole-body representations which, when coupled with Skype's conferencing capabilities, potentially could make for some interesting telepresence/teleconferecing scenarios.

Anyone have plans for a Kinectified Window app that you're itching to build?

Topics: CXO, Microsoft, Software, IT Employment

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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10 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

    This is exciting.
    The gesture interface with our PC is already here.

    Microsoft FTW!
    iluvmsft
    • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

      @iluvmsft IMO the big thing for Windows 8 will be kinect (2.0?) integration. With a higher res device hopefully.
      Tommy S.
  • Very cool.

    Been waiting to play with this for awhile. Glad to see it wasn't vaporware!
    crazydanr@...
  • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

    Very cool! Imagine having this to use with the new Win8 UI!<br><br>Now how many people are we going to see complain that this is Win7 only an not available for XP? <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink">
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

      @Cylon Centurion "...Win 7 only and not available for XP?" And when salt is rubbed in the wounds when we get it working on Linux? :-) :-)
      jgm@...
  • Too little too late

    This is a move in the right direction but this official SDK seems too little too late compared to the community developed and open source SDK which has been in the wild over six months. Especially since only Windows 7 is supported by the official SDK.
    lukeiamyourfather
    • Kinect is Microsoft's gadget, and they could make the open source SDK

      inoperable if they wanted to, by tweaking the hardware and/or the software which any kit or language accesses. And, since it's Microsoft's property, they can make anything not sanctioned or approved by them, a non-starter. That would be "evil" (to some), but, it wouldn't be much different from me taking my football and ending the game for everyone else.
      adornoe
  • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

    I just wonder what happens when you flip the computer the bird... That's probably going to be the most frequently used gesture.
    snoop0x7b
    • MS might have to develop a 7 second delay, and an algorithm

      to pixelize the gesture into an unrecognizable blurred hand.

      ;)
      adornoe
  • RE: Microsoft delivers Kinect development kit for non-commercial use

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