Kinect SDK–Think Beyond the Mouse


Finally! The officially supported Kinect Software Developer Kit for the Kinect Device for Windows is now available. Kinect SDK download. To help you get started there are also the Kinect QuickStarts. What do you get?

This SDK includes the following features:
  • Raw sensor streams - Access to raw data streams from the depth sensor, color camera sensor, and four-element microphone array enables developers to build upon the low-level streams that are generated by the Kinect sensor.

  • Skeletal tracking - The capability to track the skeleton image of one or two people moving within the Kinect field of view make it easy to create gesture-driven applications.

  • Advanced audio capabilities - Audio processing capabilities include sophisticated acoustic noise suppression and echo cancellation, beam formation to identify the current sound source, and integration with the Windows speech recognition API.

  • Sample code and documentation -   The SDK includes more than 100 pages of technical documentation. In addition to built-in help files, the documentation includes detailed walkthroughs for most samples provided with the SDK.

  • Easy installation - The SDK installs quickly, requires no complex configuration, and the complete installer size is less than 100 MB. Developers can get up and running in just a few minutes with a standard standalone Kinect sensor unit (widely available at retail outlets).

This SDK is designed for non-commercial purposes only; a commercial version is expected to be available at a later date.

What I am hoping for is that people will think beyond the mouse and keyboard – even beyond touch. For example I hear people say “how can I use Kinect as a mouse” and wonder what’s the point? Mice do what they do very well. The Kinect, using your whole body, is a blunt instrument for what the mouse does. I would rather see people think “what is it that I can’t do well with a mouse but can with my body?” What would I do if the computer could see me move? If I move both hands can I do things that are different from two fingers on a touch screen? What about moving more limbs than hands or arms? And let’s think beyond games too! The possibilities are unlimited!

Now what do you need to program with it? Well C++ as you might expect is what a lot of the samples are in. But the .NET languages are also supported so if you are a Visual Basic programmer (like me), a C# programmer or even an F# programmer you are good to go. So far it seems like more of the examples are in C++ and C# but I am sure we’ll see more VB samples soon. I know I am working on some myself.

Of course you will also want a Kinect device. If you buy the Kinect device as an add-on you will get a power cord that you can use to easily hook up to a PC. If your Kinect device came as part of a bundle with an Xbox 360 you will need an additional power cord.


You can get a Kinect Sensor Power cord from the online Microsoft Company Store or from Amazon. I think bricks and mortar Microsoft stores may have it but I am not sure.

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