Overnight Microsoft Researched has released the Software Development Kit for Kinect. As promised at Mix, the Kinect SDK beta is Microsoft’s official support for developing new and exciting applications using the Kinect sensor. This is largely a response to an incredibly passionate community of Kinect Hacks.
The biggest difference between those applications seen at http://www.kinecthacks.com/ and those that will be developed using the official SDK is that developers now have access to the full skeletal tracking. The SDK is effectively gives Windows developers the same access as Xbox developers get to Kinect.
This SDK 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.
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.
Sample code and documentation
The SDK includes more than 100 pages of technical documentation. In addition to built-in help files, the documentation includes detailed walkthroughs for most samples provided with the SDK.
The SDK installs quickly, requires no complex configuration, and the complete installer size is less than 100 MB. Developers can get up and running in just a few minutes with a standard standalone Kinect sensor unit (widely available at retail outlets).
During the launch event on Channel9, a number of developers showed off what they were able to develop within 24 hours of having access to the Kinect SDK. One of the most impressive concepts was controlling the A.R. Drone using your body. While the demo was buggy, the concept is awesome. As an owner of a Drone, I would love to control the drone using body gestures and voice control: friend impress level = 100.
During the Live stream, Microsoft staff suggest developers share their creations via twitter using the #KinectSDK tag, but I can’t help but think a Kinect Store would be a better way of distributing and getting attention for your creations. Personally I can’t wait to see what developers come up with, my Kinect is now connected to my computer.. I’m waiting.
Unfortunately Microsoft have “nothing to announce today” in regards to a commercial SDK, this release is for enthusiasts only. The uses for Kinect will undoubtedly take off after this release just from community enthusiasm, so imagine if there was a revenue stream possible from writing Kinect applications.
The Kinect SDK beta is available @ http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/download.aspx