Kinect for Windows site launched alongside beta 2 SDK

By Tom Warren, on 4th Nov 11 2:49 pm with 20 Comments

Kinect plugged into a Windows 7 PC

Microsoft issued a second beta of its Kinect for Windows SDK on Thursday.

The software giant originally opened up its Kinect accessory for use on the PC back in June. The original Kinect for Windows SDK beta was aimed at academic research and enthusiast communities to create new experiences using Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 accessory. Microsoft launched its own dedicated Kinect for Windows site on Thursday.  The updated beta 2 SDK marks a year of Kinect. “We’ve already seen strong enthusiasm for Kinect among developers who have done amazing things with it in countless different way,” said Microsoft’s Craig Eisler in a blog post on Thursday. Discussing Microsoft’s plans for a commercial SDK, Eisler said “my team is working hard to deliver a great product and I’m confident that it will be worth the wait.”

Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows beta 2 SDK introduces the following changes:

  • Significant improvements to skeletal tracking:
    • Accuracy has been improved overall, resulting in more precise tracking.
    • Skeletal Frame delivery is faster, resulting in reduced latency.
    • Skeletal Tracking is now multi-threaded and can take advantage of multiple CPU cores.
    • When using 2 Kinects, developers can now specify which one is used for skeletal tracking.
  • API support for detecting and managing device status changes, such as device unplugged, device plugged in, power unplugged, etc. Apps can reconnect to the Kinect device after it is plugged in, after the computer returns from suspend, etc. See the Shape Game sample code for the best example.
  • Developers using the audio within WPF no longer need to access the DMO from a separate thread. You can create the KinectAudioSource on the UI thread and simplify your code.
  • The driver, runtime, and SDK work correctly on the Windows 8 Developer Preview for desktop applications.
  • The SDK can be used to build 64-bit applications. Previously, only 32-bit applications could be built.
  • NuiImageBuffer has been replaced by INuiFrameTexture, defined in MSR_NuiImageCamera.h. It is no longer necessary to include the file NuiImageBuffer.h in your project.
  • The SDK install structure and default location have changed. The install location is in the environment variable %KINECTSDK_DIR% which defaults to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Kinect\v1.0 Beta2
  • Sample code changes:
    • There are is a new C# sample: KinectAudioDemo.
    • The samples have been updated. Also the C# samples use helpers, KinectWpfViewers, that may be useful in your apps.
    • The samples are now installed to Samples folder of the SDK directory, which defaults to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Kinect\v1.0 Beta2\Samples. Unzip the samples file to view the source code. We recommend that you unzip them to somewhere outside of the Program Files directory.
  • Driver and runtime stability and performance improvements, especially for the managed API layer.

Microsoft’s Kinect sensor has been a phenomenal success story for the company. The console accessory sold out across a number of retailers during last year’s festive season and Microsoft smashed its own estimates of 5 million units in 2010 by shipping 10 million devices. Microsoft’s Kinect accessory has also broken a Guinness World Record. Guinness World Records officially named Kinect for Xbox 360 the fastest-selling consumer electronics device, which sold an average of 133,333 units per day for a total of eight million units in its first 60 days between November 4, 2010 and January 3, 2011.

The Kinect for Windows beta 2 SDK is available to download at Microsoft’s Download Center.

  • Anonymous

    If everything else fails, MS will have a permanent income due to patents and propietary tech in all Kinect-related hardware and software for the next decades!!!

    • Anonymous

      They’ve built themselves quite a stable. Kinect alone is impressive, then they went out and also bought 3DV and Canesta as well.

      Yeah, I’d say they are set for quite a while, but I doubt they will simply sit still with this tech. :)

  • Guest

    Typical MS. Take a year to come up with an SDK and still don’t have it finalized. Then launch a new web site and announce it in a blog post, only the site isn’t accessible. Failboat.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11814278 Chris Woelfel

      So you want them to rush to make an SDK? I’d rather have a good SDK that I can hope there won’t be any big breaking changes than put something out there just to have it out quickly.

    • Guest

      A year to come up with an SDK isn’t rushing, it’s sleeping.

    • Thierry Vos

      Boy Mr. Negative. Must be a google-fan then?? See what comes from their fast & rushed products? Exactly: they get canned…

    • Guest

      PrimeSense released a good *commercial* SDK last December:

      http://www.joystiq.com/2010/12/10/primesense-releases-open-source-drivers-middleware-for-kinect/

      You think that a year later when MS still hasn’t done likewise that’s not slow?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

      PrimeSense didn’t create a new SDK from the ground up, they just made their existing SDK work with Kinect. Totally different.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Primesense is just a part of the technology of Kinect. KInect is much more then that.

    • Lukas Taves

      PrimeSense themselves acknowledge that Ms SDK is superior to them…

      Ms isn’t building a SDK that allows you to develop tech demos, it is developing a SDK that allows you to develop commercial applications on it, and applications that have the same feature set as Kinect on 360: Voice+Body+Face recognition, jump in jump out, can still see you even thought you are partially occluded and so on.

      And the very update structure is completely different on the windows sdk from the xbox one, so it obviously had to redo a lot of their work.

    • Sarah_gilbert

      This is MSFt not Goo

    • http://twitter.com/mcakins McAkins Online

      So in that same year how many SDK’s have you produced Mr. Guest? How many people will be using your SDK in how many ways? I hate it when idiots hide behind a guest account and start spreading stupid FUDs about a topic they know absolutely nothing about. Do you understand whats involved in creating an SDK at all? It is a platform we are talking about here dummy, they don’t rush them to markets. You don’t rush to market when you the Atlas carrying 90% of this damned world on your shoulders. Grow a brain cell stoogee.

    • Anonymous

      Do you realize what an SDK is?  The purpose of an SDK is to remove the complexity and allow programmers to easily create products.  In other words, the creators of the SDK take on the burden of the complexity and machine level code for the programmer. They have to anticipate what the developers will need in terms of functions, events, properties, etc…  Keep in mind, this IS ALL NEW STUFF were talking about. Can you imagine just the effort required to test this SDK???  Let’s see, it has voice control and freaking skeletal tracking in one package. Yes, they should test it. Then once all that is done, the SDK compiles the programmers code to something a piece of hardware can actually understand and execute.  Creating the SDK is much more difficult than creating a program with it.

    • Guest

      PrimeSense released theirs A YEAR ago.

    • Anonymous

      Which doesn’t even fully use all of Kinect’s features. It only works with the motion tracking.

    • Gabriel

      Like my spooky Halloween ringtone says, “GET OUT”!

  • Frylockns86

    Wish list: Windows 8 PCs/Tablets with integrated Kinect technologies.

    *drools*

    • Anonymous

      That’s gonna happen, along with TellMe.

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  • Guest

    So, will I have to sit 8 feet from my monitor for best experience?