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Free Kinect SDK for Windows to be released

Academics, Enthusiasts will get the free development kit for Windows Kinect support

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Ever since the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, enthusiasts and academic researchers alike have expressed their 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 already produced a number of hacks, enabling the device to be used outside of Kinect games. To encourage and support that creativity, today 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 Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor.

“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.”

Kinect for Xbox 360 was released late last year, and went on to sell over 4 million units in the first month.
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