Microsoft confirms Kinect Windows SDK, due in Spring

By Tom Warren, on 21st Feb 11 6:42 pm with 5 Comments

Kinect plugged into a Windows 7 PC

Microsoft said on Monday that it is planning to roll out an official Kinect SDK in Spring.

WinRumors previously exclusively revealed that the software giant was planning its own SDK amid a growing community of “Kinect hackers”. Microsoft officials confirmed the existence of the Windows based Kinect SDK during a special press event on Monday. Microsoft’s Don Mattrick, president of the company’s interactive business division said the software maker will ship the SDK in the Spring. The Microsoft next blog confirmed the news:

“The hope is that the SDK will unleash a wave of creativity to add to the already exciting developments we’ve seen on top of Kinect. The SDK will provide access to Kinect’s sensor as well audio and system API’s. It’s being released by Microsoft Research as a non-commercial SDK aimed at academics and enthusiasts. As you may have read in earlier posts, MSR played a pivotal role by providing some of the core technology for Kinect in areas such as facial recognition and skeletal tracking and this SDK is more evidence of the tight collaboration between MSR and our product teams.”

Microsoft has shipped over 8 million Kinect sensors in just 60 days on the market. Microsoft’s Kinect sensor has been a phenomenal success story for the company. The console accessory sold out across a number of retailers during the recent festive season and Microsoft smashed its own estimates of 5 million units in 2010 by shipping 8 million devices. Kinect hackers have shown off Minority Report style multitouch control and the Kinect running on Mac OS X. Microsoft said in November that it left the USB connection on the Kinect open, “by design.” Kinect hackers have recently taken the device to new heights. Videos emerged of device owners fully controlling Windows 7 and interactive prototype puppets. Kinect hacking is only at the very early stages but what’s clear is hackers are demonstrating the potential of the technology for use on PCs.

Microsoft blogger Steve Clayton revealed recently that the company is excited by the hundreds of ways people are using Kinect. “The enthusiasm we are seeing in the scientific community – specifically the research and academic communities – around potential applications of Kinect, is exciting to see” wrote Clayton. WinRumors revealed in January that Microsoft is currently preparing an official SDK and Kinect drivers for Windows. Microsoft is set to unveil driver support and an SDK in the coming months and will allow third-party developers to create titles that utilize the Kinect sensor when plugged into a PC. According to sources familiar with the plans, Microsoft will distribute the drivers under the “beta” tag. Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer,promised Kinect for PC during an interview at CES and confirmed the company would announce official support “in the right time.” It appears the Spring is now the “right time.”

  • Grannyville7989

    I wonder if I’ll get any use out of it to be part of my final year project for computer SCIENCE!

    Remember, those who do not believe in the power of computer science will not be saved when the revolution comes. WOLVERINES!!!

    Also, emphasis on the “science” please.

  • Anonymous

    cool, wonder if it will be part of the XNA system as it would be nice to have full homebrew support on x360 & pc.

  • Adrian

    What language does one need to be proficient at to develop for the Kinect? Is the system straightforward to set up for gestures? Is this highly complex or simple?

  • Sunasra
  • luis

    OMG! Official Microsoft Kinect SDK. FTW!

    Orginal FPS games with KINECT = Living my dream to be a virtual shooter.