Official Kinect SDK finally available

Microsoft have (finally) released their long-awaited official Windows SDK for the Kinect device.

Ever since the Kinect was released for Xbox 360 last year, homebrew hackers have been putting it to all kinds of uses. While initially sceptical about such activities, Microsoft have eventually come around and agreed that there really are some fantastic creations.

The Kinect for Windows SDK allows anyone using Visual Studio 2010 and writing Visual Basic, C# or C++ to make use of Microsoft’s features. The SDK includes raw sensor streams from the RGB camera and depth sensor; skeletal tracking for 2 people in a scene at a given time; audio capabilities – as yet unavailable in open-source libraries; and easy installation and use.

Unfortunately this release is not slated to work on Linux or Mac – requiring Visual Studio for development and using the XNA framework under the hood. This is contrary to most of the open source libraries, which focussed on working on Linux devices first and then only some of them adding Windows support later.

Microsoft was also keen to emphasise that this is only a beta release and is strictly for non-commercial use – although a commercial release is on the cards in the future.

You can get the SDK from the Microsoft Research site. There are some Quickstarts and sample projects available too.

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