Ever since the Kinect for Xbox 360 was released back in November, developers all over the world have been busy creating Windows drivers for the device, and though Microsoft could have responded by trying to lock the hardware to the platform, it surprised everyone by openly supporting the indie-developer movement, and then also promised an official SDK. Microsoft has now announced a release date for the Kinect for Windows SDK beta – May 16th.
Apart from access to the various sensors arrays (including audio and infrared), the SDK will make both high-level skeleton tracking and low-level sensor data available to the developer. In Microsoft's words, the Kinect for Windows SDK beta is described as:
"Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Microsoft Windows 7....
This SDK is intended for non-commercial use to enable experimentation in the world of natural user interface experiences, with new state-of-the-art features planned for future releases that will continue to provide new ways to experiment."
[RELATED_ARTICLE]Developers interested in getting official access to the software and hardware of the Kinect on the Windows platform can register here.
Some demos were showcased at the MIX 11 developers conference, including a Kinect drivable lounge chair that could be controlled by hand gestures, a navigation system for the blind, and a Microsoft Research called Worldwide Telescope, which allowed users to navigate space with gestures.
Check out a video demonstration of the Worldwide Telescope below: