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Kinect SDK Beta Available for Download

The Kinect software development kit (SDK) beta was released by Microsoft today, enabling developers to create Visual Basic, Windows 7 C#,and C++ applications that recognize user input through the Xbox 360 Kinect sensor device. The SDK can be downloaded here.

According to Microsoft, the Kinect for Windows SDK beta consists of "drivers, rich APIs for raw sensor streams and human motion tracking, installation documents, and resource materials." Developers are able to work with data streams from various Kinect sensors, including the color camera, four-element microphone array and depth sensor.

Dan Fernandez, director in the Developer and Platform Evangelism team at Microsoft, showed how developers can quickly add the Microsoft.Research.Kinect.Nui library to projects and build applications in Visual Studio 2010 that work with the Kinect cameras and sensors. He showed how developers can use low-level bit shifting to produce color visualizations based on distance tracking.

The Kinect SDK also provides for skeletal tracking of up to two people. The device maps 20 skeletal tracking points to detect movement and enable gesture-driven applications. Gavin Janke, general manager of engineering for Microsoft Research, demoed a virtual globe application that allowed him to hold a virtual rendering of the earth, and move and size it based on Kinect tracking the position of Janke's hands.

Janke also demoed the Kinect speech engine, showing how a running application can respond to verbal commands.

The Kinect SDK for Windows beta does not allow for commercial use, and is targeted strictly for prototype and enthusiast work. "Down the line there will be a commercial version of the SDK which will enable people to build and deploy stuff for commercial use," said Janke.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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