By Alex Kipman – Technical Fellow, Operating Systems Group, Microsoft
Today, we have some exciting news to share about the next chapter for Kinect. Our Windows SDK 2.0 is now available for the Kinect v2 sensors, and developers can commercially deploy Kinect apps in the Windows Store for the first time.
Kinect democratized motion sensing in 2010 and today that journey continues. We are introducing a $49.99 (USD) adapter kit that enables you to take the Kinect for Xbox One you already own and attach it to Windows PCs and tablets. With the adapter, all Kinect v2 sensors—Kinect for Windows v2 and Kinect for Xbox One—perform identically.
Kinect SDK 2.0. Since last November when we gave our developer preview program participants access to an early version of the SDK, we have been listening. Over the past year, the team has engaged in dozens of hackathons, worked through countless issues reported by you, and we are only getting started. Thank you for the amazing feedback, dedication, and passion!
The Kinect SDK 2.0 is available today for you to download for free here. There are no fees for runtime licenses of commercial applications developed with the SDK. With over 200 improvements and updates to the SDK since we released the public preview in June, including enhancements to Visual Gesture Builder, Kinect Studio, and Kinect Fusion, we get you coding faster with a substantially more stable and feature-rich product.
Kinect Apps in Windows Store. For the first time, you can commercially deploy Kinect apps in the Windows Store. This was a frequent request from the community and we are delighted to enable you to bring more personal computing experiences that feature gesture control, body tracking, and object recognition to Windows customers around the world. Access to the Windows Store opens a whole new marketplace for business and consumer experiences. Several of our partners have already taken advantage of this and have apps available for download in the Windows Store today including:
- Kinect Evolution: An app that helps developers understand the core capabilities of the Kinect for Windows v2 technology.
- YAKiT: An entertaining app from the developers at Freak n’ Genius that allows people without design expertise to animate 2D or 3D characters in real time.
- 3D Builder: An app that enables anyone to scan a person or object, turn it into a 3D model, and create a 3D print of that model. You no longer have to be a technologist or have access to a 3D printer to create amazing 3D prints!
Kinect Adapter for Windows. On Oct. 7, we introduced a standalone version of Kinect for Xbox One. We are extending the value for Xbox and Windows customers with the availability of the Kinect Adapter for Windows for $49.99 (USD). This adapter allows you to use the Kinect for Xbox One with Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 through a USB 3.0 port. Purchasing the Kinect for Xbox One sensor along with the adapter brings it to price parity with the existing Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. The Kinect Adapter for Windows is available in over two dozen countries and regions – rolling out later today – and will be available in a total of 41 in coming weeks.
These updates are all part of our goal to make Kinect accessible and easy to use for every developer. We created Kinect as a way to make computer interaction more intuitive and to address an increasing desire for technology to be more accessible. We are seeing a lot of interest from businesses to bring interactive experiences to their customers that allow people to interact naturally with technology by simply gesturing and speaking. Now, with the ability to commercially deploy the latest Kinect technology in a variety of industries and environments, there is a big opportunity for developers to meet the demand.
Here are two examples of things partners are doing with the technology today:
- Care Innovations, a joint venture from Intel and GE, and developers at RespondWell, are working together to provide new physical therapy resources for seniors. They understand how difficult it can be for seniors to visit their therapist’s office on a daily basis, so they created an interactive program to help patients exercise in the comfort of their own home while providing Kinect-based gesture monitoring to ensure patients are exercising with the proper form. The program also provides valuable insight for their therapists to track the progress of their patients.
- Ubi Interactive is bringing their interactive technology that turns any surface into a touchscreen to Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. The solution creates an interactive whiteboard for teachers where they can bring subjects like physics, history and math to life through dynamic content that grabs the attention of the whole class. The school district is breaking down barriers of access to Internet resources for their students and is the first education institution to utilize this type of interactive teaching. The Ubi Interactive solution has been deployed in classrooms throughout the district, bringing learning to life for more than 26,000 Mexican students.
These are just a few examples where our partners are improving the human experience. As we move into a more personal, natural, and intuitive era of computing, we are thrilled to see the valuable and creative ways in which Kinect is being embraced, and look forward to seeing what you will do with it next.
It’s a humbling and amazing dream to be able to represent this team. In that spirit, and from all of us, thank you! I’m excited about the impact Kinect can have on society in areas like healthcare, retail, entertainment, and education and can’t wait to see what you do with it next.