Getting the Most out of the Kinect SDK

Editor's Note: The Following MVP Monday post is by Silverlight MVP Michael Crump


The official Kinect SDK by Microsoft has been released and I’ve recently had the chance to play with it. Before we get started you may be asking, “What is it?” Let’s see how Microsoft defines it: The Kinect for Windows SDK beta is a starter kit for applications developers that include APIs, sample code, and drivers. This SDK enables the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich experiences by using Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect sensor technology on computers running Windows 7. In other words, it will allow you to plug in your retail Kinect and be able to create applications that use its microphone and cameras.


Getting Started

Start by reviewing what hardware you will need and download the tools to build a Kinect Application.

Supported Operating Systems and Architectures

  • Windows 7 (x86 or x64)

Hardware Requirements

  • Computer with a dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
  • Windows 7–compatible graphics card that supports Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0c capabilities
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • Kinect for Xbox 360® sensor—retail edition, which includes special USB/power cabling

Software Requirements

Additional Downloads


After SDK Installation

After installing the SDK , plug in your Kinect. When you see the “Found new Hardware” Dialog then double click on it and the following screen should appear.

If everything goes well then you should see “Ready to use” on all of the following devices.


Starting your First Kinect Project

One of the first things that I was wondering after downloading the Kinect SDK is how to build applications using it. The answer is WPF. You can also use WinForms, but we all love XAML right? I’m not going to walk you step-by-step how to create a Kinect Application as that has been done before. What I am going to show you is 2 crucial steps that you will need to follow in order to build your first Kinect project.

The first thing you need to do after creating a new WPF project is reference Microsoft.Research.Kinect.dll. You should be able to find it if you browse out to where the SDK is installed.

The second thing you should do is make sure your project has the Platform target set to x86 as shown in the screen shot below. 

By simply following these two steps you will be able to develop Kinect applications with ease.


Speeding up your Kinect Development.

We are all looking for ways to speed up our developing time while avoiding costly mistakes. When starting development for Kinect, you may find the following template/toolkits invaluable:

Kinect Contrib

KinectContrib is a set of VS2010 Templates that will help you get started building a Kinect project very quickly. Once installed, you will have the option to select the following templates shown below:

Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit

The Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit contains extension methods and a WPF control called the Hover Button to help you develop with the Kinect SDK. You can view a full list of the extension methods and a brief description by looking at the chart below:



As you can see, things are already getting easier for those working with the Kinect SDK. I imagine that after a few more months we will see the SDK go out of beta and allow commercial applications to run using it. I am very excited and hope that you continue discovering new things with the KinectSDK. I would also invite you to connect with me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog. Thank you for reading.


Author's Bio

Michael Crump is a Silverlight MVP and MCPD that has been involved with computers in one way or another for as long as he can remember, but started professionally in 2002. After spending years working as a system administrator/tech support analyst, Michael branched out and started developing internal utilities that automated repetitive tasks and freed up full-time employees. From there, he was offered a job working at McKesson Corporation and has been working with some form of .NET and VB/C# since 2003.

He shares his findings in his personal blog: and he also tweets at:@mbcrump

MVP Mondays

The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.

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