Microsoft backs Kinect hacks with SDK release

Microsoft backs Kinect hacks with SDK release

By Rob Crossley

February 22nd 2011 at 9:27AM

Platform holder to release non-commercial PC SDK within months

Microsoft has said it will “ignite creativity in an already vibrant ecosystem of enthusiasts” by releasing a Kinect SDK for the PC.

A non-commercial-use software development kit will be released this spring, Microsoft said. An edition for professional game and app development will be released at a later date.

In a statement the company was careful not to use the term hacks – a word which has connotations with other, more destructive forms of hardware manipulation – but it is clear Microsoft is now embracing Kinect manipulations.

Since the release of Kinect, hundreds of academics and enthusiast have demonstrated various ways to manipulate the device. These range from designing an on-screen invisibility suit, to a sign-language reader, to various FPS control mechanisms.

The intent of releasing an SDK ‘starter kit’, said Microsoft, is to make work easier for the community of Kinect hackers, and to expand the device’s potential. The starter kit will provide access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor.

“The community that has blossomed since the launch of Kinect shows the breadth of invention and depth of imagination possible when people have access to ground-breaking technology,” read a Microsoft statement on an official blog post.

“We are very excited by this announcement,” the company added.

“Not only does it showcase our investment in this important technology trend, but it ensures that people have the tools they desire to revolutionise how people interact with technology.

“The possibilities are endless. Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a great platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues in areas such as healthcare and education.

“Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI). NUI is part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us.”

The Kinect for Windows SDK is being developed by Microsoft Research (MSR) in collaboration with IEB.