Next Spring, Microsoft will make a Kinect for Windows development kit available. This will be a free SDK, although a commercial version will also be released at a later date.
Since the end of 2010, Microsoft’s Kinect has been available for their Xbox 360 games console. This allows for a new kind of interaction, with the human body being transformed into the games controller. It has also been very successful since its release as Microsoft has announced that more than 8 million units have been sold in the world.
Microsoft’s ambitions for Kinect aren’t just related to entertainment and games. The software giant is also looking to widen its scope to therapeutic applications (assisting in the diagnostics and re-education of brain injuries). More generally, Microsoft wants to use their advanced sensors to turn the human body into a computer. This research field is linked to new natural interfaces.
A few users who like tinkering with electronics have decided to go ahead without Microsoft’s approval to provide Kinect hacks which will allow you to, for example, control your Web browser with your hand. After having been harassed on this subject, Microsoft has now decided to make the task easier. They have now announced that an SDK (Software Development Kit) will be released in the spring for Kinect, running under Windows. The Kinect platform will apparently be opened up.
According to Microsoft, this SDK will be a starting point for developers (Universities and enthusiasts) wishing to create natural interfaces uses the Kinect technology. Guided by Microsoft Research, this provides access to the Kinect information systems like the audio, API’s and direct control of the Kinect sensors. Later, a commercial version of the SDK will also be released.
Last year, with the first rumours starting to circulate about Windows 8, it was already being mentioned that Kinect could be used in the field of facial recognition. Microsoft has also stated that they could use a Kinect video connector for Windows Live Messenger and its unified Lync Server 2010 communications so that a videoconference can be managed by movements.