New gesture toolkit available for Kinect for Windows developers

New gesture toolkit available for Kinect for Windows developers

Summary: GesturePak is a new third-party toolkit for Kinect for Windows developers that requires little coding.


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Carl Franklin has developed a new gesture toolkit for Kinect for Windows that promises to allow gesture capture and recognition with little coding required.

His new app, GesturePak, goes on sale as of April 18 for $99. (A site license is $799.) Franklin said he will make it available for developers to incorporate into their apps on a royalty-free basis. Franklin said he will provide free updates for the tool.

GesturePak captures photos of gestures, loads the gesture files using the GesturePak programming interface and then handles events created when users perform a specific gesture. The toolkit comes with a set of prerecorded gestures, like hand waving, saluting, head nodding and more.

"Being able to recognize someone's gesture is something difficult to do, so people are doing it with a lot of coding, which is the complicated way," Franklin said.

Franklin, who also is the co-host of the ".Net Rocks!" podcast, said the target audience for GesturePak is anyone working with Kinect for Windows. The toolkit is suitable for hobbyists and children, too, he said, since it removes the need for complicated coding.

Speaking of Kinect for Windows, Microsoft officials recently touted work that Mattel, Gun Communications and Adaaptor have done using the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) to build the "Barbie the Dream Closet" app, which scales select Barbie outfits and allows users to "wear" them via the Kinect sensor.

Microsoft officials said recently they plan to release version 1.5 of Kinect for Windows in late May 2012. Microsoft delivered the 1.0 release in February 2012.

Topics: Windows, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development


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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  • Sweet!!!

    This is exactly what I've been waiting for. I've done a lot of LOB Kinect apps (I know, it sounds funny) and creating custom gestures is the hardest thing to do.

    Another cool thing would be to program gestures by example. In other words, I (the developer) would provide gesture samples by acting them out in frot of my Kinect and the system would record them and figure out how to recognize them. I'd buy that tool in a heartbeat.

    Now we just need finger/hand tracking and we'd be set.
    • Embedded Gesture Recording is in there!

      Hey Kinect_Dev, the GesturePak API comes with the same Recorder object that the GesturePakRecorder app uses to record gestures, and you are free to implement recording in your own apps!

    • You can create gestures by example!

      I misunderstood your question. That is EXACTLY what GesturePak lets you do. You break down a gesture into poses, then take Snapshots of you in those poses, then that becomes your gesture, which you can then recognize in your app.
      • Wonderful!

        Yeah, at the time of the posting of this article I didn't know anything about GesturePak. That is exactly what I've been hoping for (and have almost written myself a couple of times). Are you doing any machine learning to combine multiple samples of a particular pose or gesture into a profile that can then recognized more accurately?
  • Incredible.

    This is where Microsoft excels. The Kinect has already been used, in an unofficial - hacked sort of way, as a motion capture device for independent animated films and games. Having it officially interfaced with a PC just makes it all that more awesome! The future = broke Apple users buying content from wealthy Windows users.
  • Re: Wonderful!

    > Are you doing any machine learning to combine multiple samples of a particular pose or gesture into a profile that can then recognized more accurately?

    No need for that. It's soooo simple, really. The secret is limiting the number of poses in the gesture to the least required in order to perform the gesture. You hold up your hand, you say "Snapshot", you move your hand and say "Snapshot" again, and you've got your gesture. When your hand passes through the first pose, and then the next pose within .5 seconds (variable) you've done the gesture.

    Try the interactive demo and tell me what you think.

    It's a full screen app and it works best in resolutions of 1920x1080 or lower, believe it or not.

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