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Microsoft Releases Kinect for Windows Hardware, SDK

By - Source: Microsoft | B 22 comments

The hardware and SDK to Kinect for Windows is now shipping, as promised.

As promised back in January, Microsoft is now shipping the Kinect for Windows hardware via distribution partners in twelve launch countries. The suggested retail price for the device will be $249, but Microsoft plans to offer special academic pricing of $149 for Qualified Educational Users later this year. Microsoft has also released the Kinect for Windows SDK (v.0) for developers which can be downloaded here.

"Without many years of intense R&D efforts, including research investments of hundreds of millions of dollars, and deep partnership between our research teams, software teams, hardware teams, manufacturing teams, and games studios, Kinect simply wouldn’t exist," writes Craig Eisler, General Manager of Kinect for Windows. "Shipping Kinect for Windows was another cross-Microsoft effort: not only did the hardware and software teams work closely together to create an integrated solution, but our support, manufacturing, supply chain, reverse logistics, and account teams have all been working hard to prepare for today’s launch."

Since the release of Beta 2, the SDK and runtime now features many improvements including support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer, improved skeletal tracking including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor, Near Mode which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the device, the addition of the latest Microsoft Speech components, and more.

Eisler said that Microsoft plans to release updates to the SDK and runtime 2 to 3 times per year. In fact, the team is currently working on the next release. "We are continuing to invest in programs like our Testing and Adoption Program and the Kinect Accelerator, and will work to create new programs in the future to help support our developer and partner ecosystem," Eisler adds. "We will also continue to listen to our developer community and business customers for the kinds of features and capabilities they need, as they re-imagine the future of computing using the power of Kinect."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially announced Kinect for Windows' impending release during his final keynote presentation at CES 2012 last month. Recent reports suggest that the company is experimenting with Kinect sensors embedded in mobile devices, but presently the tech is reportedly draining battery charge rather quickly.

With the hardware now becoming available on the market, companies can now begin to deploy their solutions, Eisler said without going into specifics. For those interested in developing for the Windows-based Kinect sensor, you'll need to meet the following hardware and software requirements:

Hardware Requirements
- 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
- Dual-core 2.66-GHz or faster processor
- Dedicated USB 2.0 bus
- 2 GB RAM
- A Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor

Software Requirements
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express or other Visual Studio 2010 edition
- NET Framework 4.0
- To develop speech-enabled Kinect for Windows Applications, you must install the Microsoft Speech Platform SDK v11

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  • 8 Hide
    zybch , February 2, 2012 2:09 AM
    Interesting to see what new applications the kinect will be used for in the future.
  • 4 Hide
    jryan388 , February 2, 2012 2:33 AM
    It's not compatible with the xbox sensor? Fail >.> Costs 2x as much? Fail >.>
  • 8 Hide
    azathoth , February 2, 2012 2:37 AM
    Quote:
    support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer


    I can hardly even imagine what people may come up with using FOUR sensors in a surround setup!
  • Display all 22 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Darkerson , February 2, 2012 3:12 AM
    In regards to all the enhancements over the original, I could understand maybe $150, but $250?
    No thanks!
  • 7 Hide
    alextheblue , February 2, 2012 3:27 AM
    jryan388It's not compatible with the xbox sensor? Fail >.> Costs 2x as much? Fail >.>

    DarkersonIn regards to all the enhancements over the original, I could understand maybe $150, but $250? No thanks!

    They make money selling the games. So it's easy to sell Kinect for 360 cheaply, because people will buy games for it. The PC version? There AREN'T any compatible games yet! Nor are there really any "regular joe" applications for it. Kinect on PC, whether using a not-so-well-supported Xbox Kinect with beta SDK OR using the new hardware and SDK, is in its infancy.

    As we see more software supporting it, especially game titles, the price will come down. We may also see Kinect-compatible sensor arrays integrated into laptops and monitors. So unless you've got early adopter syndrome, chill out.
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , February 2, 2012 3:31 AM
    Good it is time for the era of us having eating Ramen while browsing internet.
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 2, 2012 6:20 AM
    No thanks. I'll wait until this product is integrated with existing or future webcams. That shouldn't be too far away. The last thing I want is another big box on my desk.

    I do love the idea though of Kinect, maybe moreso for video games, though.
  • -3 Hide
    southernshark , February 2, 2012 11:07 AM
    alextheblueThey make money selling the games. So it's easy to sell Kinect for 360 cheaply, because people will buy games for it. The PC version? There AREN'T any compatible games yet! Nor are there really any "regular joe" applications for it. Kinect on PC, whether using a not-so-well-supported Xbox Kinect with beta SDK OR using the new hardware and SDK, is in its infancy.As we see more software supporting it, especially game titles, the price will come down. .


    Of course the reverse is also true and maybe TRUER. If a product costs a lot and no one buys it then no one will ever make applications for it. You have to have a demand before you get a lot of developer interest. Few people are going to program something so that 5000 people might buy it.....

    To me Microsoft is really screwing up with this by not bringing it out at a lower price point and by not decreasing its size somewhat and by not making it X-box compatible. You add the three together and you end up with stale bread.

    I love the idea of Kinect but at $250.00 I'm going to pass and wait for a 3d party product to do the same thing for 1/3 the cost.
  • -1 Hide
    Darkerson , February 2, 2012 11:18 AM
    alextheblue So unless you've got early adopter syndrome, chill out.


    I dont remember anyone getting particularly wound up. Just annoyed by the price. But if you think its worth $250, then by all means. Have fun with that!
  • 0 Hide
    notsleep , February 2, 2012 11:18 AM
    well, if it comes with software to control my win7 machine, then maybe i'm interested. but if it only ships with the hw and nothing else, not so much. :p 
  • -3 Hide
    zak_mckraken , February 2, 2012 12:48 PM
    250$, 150$ or even 50$, who here would buy one? It's not a gaming product this time around. It's not even a end-user product. It's meant for companies, enthusiasts, students, researchers to to create innovative uses to the technology. Sure, some games will probably pop up now and then, but that's not the goal for Microsoft. You're not paying only for the device, you,re also paying for the constant update in the SDK.
  • -4 Hide
    southernshark , February 2, 2012 12:52 PM
    zak_mckraken250$, 150$ or even 50$, who here would buy one? It's not a gaming product this time around. It's not even a end-user product. It's meant for companies, enthusiasts, students, researchers to to create innovative uses to the technology. Sure, some games will probably pop up now and then, but that's not the goal for Microsoft. You're not paying only for the device, you,re also paying for the constant update in the SDK.


    So its fail then. Students aren't going to pay $250 for something with limited use. Some companies might buy, although I think that at your average company its going to be a hard sale, I can only imagine people who do high end presentations being particularly interested (just so they can act cooler by changing the power point slide with their hand). But that really is a tiny fraction of the marketplace.

    It seems unusual to me for a company like Microsoft which makes its bread and butter targeting the average consumer, making a product like that.
  • -4 Hide
    southernshark , February 2, 2012 1:01 PM
    Ok I see now 149 for qualified educational purchasers... its still a stretch to think that college kids or even more unlikely high school kids are going to buy this thing. If you make it fun, then college kids might buy it. But if they have a choice to spend money on a developer tool versus on say beer.. then I don't see it. You might be able to sell a few to some school districts for presentation purposes, but most of the ones who would buy it already use MACs.... so I don't see that being a big market.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 2, 2012 1:40 PM
    4 Kinect sensors on a single PC?
    ...
    One on each wall, a VR headset and a you have kick-ass virtual reality gaming
  • 0 Hide
    DEY123 , February 2, 2012 2:58 PM
    I have an HTPC. I would consider replacing my remote with this if it was cheaper then $250 (assuming it allows me to interact like a mouse and a remote). Then again it's not like the remote is hard to use.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , February 2, 2012 3:02 PM
    azathothI can hardly even imagine what people may come up with using FOUR sensors in a surround setup!


    think indi games... where do they fail the most... the way i see it the biggest failure they tend to have is when they are 3d games, because they just cant handle realistic 3d animation.

    a quad setup would be able to get every angle almost of a 3d model (barring aquard poses)

    you could also set up 4 sensors all on a face, or all on a hand to get all of the detail possible.

    you could probably write a program that could get you facial animation better than what most games have, but less than what la noire has, all on a 1000$ budget...

    you could also have detailed hand animation and such, and could probably scan in 3d objects and have them pre mapped, sure it wouldn't be perfect, but it would save a crap ton of time.
  • 1 Hide
    TomsSound , February 2, 2012 3:47 PM
    Minority Report style interface for windows. :) 
  • 0 Hide
    alcalde , February 2, 2012 5:20 PM
    zak_mckraken250$, 150$ or even 50$, who here would buy one? It's not a gaming product this time around. It's not even a end-user product. It's meant for companies, enthusiasts, students, researchers to to create innovative uses to the technology. Sure, some games will probably pop up now and then, but that's not the goal for Microsoft. You're not paying only for the device, you,re also paying for the constant update in the SDK.


    Who would buy one? I run Linux rather than Windows, and I want to buy one! (The Linux kernel is ahead of Windows with drivers for Kinect already existing. :-) )

    This is the interface of the future.
  • 0 Hide
    zak_mckraken , February 2, 2012 6:22 PM
    alcaldeWho would buy one? I run Linux rather than Windows, and I want to buy one! (The Linux kernel is ahead of Windows with drivers for Kinect already existing. :-) ) This is the interface of the future.

    What are you going to do with it? Toy around, maybe build a small UI to control some apps, but what else? the fact is, for now, it's not a end-user product.

    I'm aware that the Linux community have been developping drivers for a while. Now MS is gonan provide Windows users with a whole SDK. Let's hope it can be imported easily into Linux!
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 2, 2012 9:18 PM
    Funny thing is, when Kinect first came out they said it was not intended for Windows and people went ape-shit trying to write software for it, now that MS has endorsed it for the PCF and pushed out an SDK people are having a proper moaning session at MS
    ...
    Make your mind up, do you want Kinect for the PC or not?
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