Academics, Enthusiasts to Get Kinect SDK
February 21, 2011 11:40 AM PT

Ever since the November launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, enthusiasts and academic researchers alike have expressed their excitement and intense interest in the possibilities created by the product’s ability to enable users to bring games and entertainment to life without using a controller.

Kinect for Xbox 360 and the potential seen within its core technology have captured the imaginations of the academic research and enthusiast communities. To encourage and support that creativity, on Feb. 21, Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, and Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, announced that the company plans to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) from Microsoft Research this spring.

“Microsoft’s investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us,” said Mundie. “The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them.”

While Microsoft plans to release a commercial version at a later date, this SDK will be a starter kit to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich natural user interfaces using Kinect technology. The SDK will give users access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor.

This release will leverage Microsoft Research’s deep connections to academia worldwide and its long history of releasing software tools to the research community to foster creativity, experimentation, and new research directions.

Microsoft continues to make deep investments in natural user interfaces, and that work is appearing in a wide variety of Microsoft products, such as:

“As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale,” said Mundie, “the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing.”