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- NuiImageBuffer has been replaced by INuiFrameTexture, defined in MSR_NuiImageCamera.h. It is no longer necessary to include the file NuiImageBuffer.h in your project.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.