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Microsoft Releases Kinect SDK For Windows 137

Posted by timothy
from the go-forth-and-wiggle dept.
soricon writes "Microsoft made good on its promise to release an official Kinect SDK for Windows, opening the door for multiple educational, research and enthusiasts groups to create new and innovative uses for the popular full body movement sensor. Currently in beta, the SDK requires Windows 7 and at a minimum, a dual core machine with a DirectX 9.0c capable graphic card and it is free to download."
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Microsoft Releases Kinect SDK For Windows

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  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @02:52PM (#36466576)
    and this is a good decision. I've seen so many cool hacks for this hardware already, and that's just hackers playing around. Imagine what could be done with a legit SDK. Good job Microsoft, make more of these kinds of decisions.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      We have ways of dealing with apologist scum like you! Don't you know this is a WAR??? Have you forgiven M$ that easily?

      Modders, you know what to do. And may RMS have mercy on your karma.

      (Captcha: lynched. No I'm not joking)

    • by EdZ (755139)
      As far as I can tell, the difference between the official SDK and the homebrew SDK is that the official SDK uses Microsoft's own skeletal tracking algorithm using only the depth sensor, whereas the homebrew SDK uses skeletal tracking based around outline recognition using the imaging camera with a dash of using the depth sensor to clean up the input.
      Unless you have a specific reason to use MS skeletal tracking algorithm (which appears to be pretty nifty, a SLNN trained against a massive sample set), then y
      • by MHolmesIV (253236)

        You also get the Microphone streams, and the echo cancelled mic streams, two things that until now have not been available in any homebrew.

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        The point is that you get official MS support and can start monetizing your kinect software. Its an easier sell when there's an official driver and SDK.

  • Skip the blogspam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @02:55PM (#36466624)
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday June 16, 2011 @02:58PM (#36466674) Homepage Journal

    is it safe now, on slashdot, to reserve more hate for the corporate policies of apple and google, than for microsoft?

    shhhh... don't wake the old bearded guys in the corner

    • by Reapman (740286) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @03:23PM (#36466994)

      What about Bob! Oh sure some company's might steal your data, or root kit your computer, or make you wear turtle necks, but that pales in comparison to the evil unleashed known as BOB.

      I'd also chime in about young whippersnappers but judging by your UID that might be.. awkard.

      • by powerlord (28156)

        Considering the people screaming their heads off about Rootkits whenever ANY Sony article gets mentioned, I'm actually surprised there aren't more people complaining about Bob. :D

      • by deniable (76198)
        The ultimate punishment was reserved for the manager behind Bob. She got life with Bill.
    • Re:it's june, 2011 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RogueyWon (735973) * on Thursday June 16, 2011 @05:04PM (#36468086) Journal

      On the gaming side, Microsoft have actually been less evil than their competitors for years now. Sony's acts of wanton consumer abuse are too many and too well known to be worth documenting. Nintendo is actually no better, maintaining some of the most anti-consumer policies around, such as rigidly enforced region locking and rabid crackdowns on homebrew. On the PC gaming side, Microsoft's last really "evil" act was insisting on Windows Vista to play the PC version of Halo 2 - which was years ago. Their first and second party PC games have never gone in for the kind of DRM shite we've seen from Ubisoft.

      These days, when Microsoft do something nasty on the gaming side, it's more likely to be down to incompetence (the RROD fiasco and Games for Windows Live) than malice. And to be honest, they are (slowly) getting better at avoiding that kind of thing.

  • by imidan (559239) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @02:58PM (#36466676)

    The blog post must have been written in a hurry by someone whose native language is not English.

    Here is the link to the actual Microsoft SDK:

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/ [microsoft.com]

  • Why is the minimum req. a beefy dual core processor?

    The X-box has nowhere near that amount of power - why keep this technology away from smaller and less power-hungry platforms?
    • by Shados (741919)

      Because the only non-dual core machine you can realistically buy today are some extremely low end netbooks that can barely run World of Goo (hell, mine can't).

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      The X-box is a triple core machine. I imagine that certain tasks are done per core and single-cores can cause performance issues.

    • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @03:04PM (#36466760)

      The XBOX360 has a triple-core PowerPC processor. And dual core processors aren't exactly new, so I wouldn't call them "beefy." Also, IIRC a lot of processing has to be done host-side of the data coming from the Kinect, so a single core processor probably can't hack it.

      • Yes, the 360's processor is old and doesn't keep up with today's powerful CPUs... However all today's powerful CPUs are dual core or more. The last single core desktop CPU Intel made was the Pentium 4. From then on it has been all dual and up. Well guess what? A Pentium 4 doesn't compare very favourably with a 360's CPU. Hence I could see why it might not be enough, particularly keeping in mind it also has to run the OS and all related tasks, and of course your app that is using the Kinect.

        These days asking

        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          You stole my thunder and I have no mod points today.

          I have already retired my first 64 bit dual core laptop since it's almost five years old and has already had both the hard drive and motherboard replaced.

          (Well quasi-retired... it sits on my coffee table and whenever I feel self-abusive I play with linux...)

        • Your forgetting the various single core atom cpu's they made too.

        • These days asking for "a dual core" is equivalent to saying "I want a system with 2005 or newer technology." Not unreasonable I don't think

          But that is not the point here. They are not just asking for "dual core". They are asking for a Core 2 Duo or better, meaning Intel x86/x64 Conroe architecture or better. Not a low power dual core ARM processor, not a dual core Atom, but a full-blown CISC monster with loads of multi-level internal caching, advanced pipelining, and a ton of features common to advanced CPU's like Virtualization, Execute Disable Bits, SSE3, MMX, 3DNOW, and so on and forth.

          These are not small chips. So they're expensive. And

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          Also, what sort of developer wouldn't have a reasonably up to date machine anyway?
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Derp? An XBox 360 has a weird custom 3-core 3.2 GHz PowerPC.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Indeed; that is not the offensive part at all. Ask someone how GTA4 runs on a PC sometime. You need four cores so that the OS can mangle one, since there's not all those background services running on the 360. The annoying part is that it requires Windows 7 and won't run on Vista. Not surprising, mind you; Microsoft would very much like everyone running Vista to pay for what is essentially a minor upgrade (since Vista has been service packed.)

    • You are 100% correct in that the xbox doesn't have the same amount of power as a dual core processor. It has three cores, each of which can run 2 threads at a time.
      • You are 100% correct in that the xbox doesn't have the same amount of power as a dual core processor. It has three cores, each of which can run 2 threads at a time.

        Since this is Slashdot, could we keep a decent level of seriousness here?

        The interesting thing about a microprocessor is not its clock frequency or number of cores. It is the amount of numbers/math it can crunch in a predetermined piece of time.

        I bet the odd triple-core PowerPC chip from 2004 used in the X-Box has absolutely no chance against a modern Intel dual-core chip with half the clock speed.

        And now that you think about it, you know I am right ;-)

        - Jesper

    • by erroneus (253617)

      I think the situation is not wanting to support Windows XP. Those requirements are more in-line with Windows 7 requirements than Kinect's. We have seen already what is needed to work with Kinect.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is the minimum req. a beefy dual core processor? The X-box has nowhere near that amount of power - why keep this technology away from smaller and less power-hungry platforms?

      The XBox 360, which the Kinect is designed for, has a custom designed triple-core PowerPC 3.2GHz processor. Each core supports SMT (simultaneous multithreading). The processor emphasizes high floating point processing. Clearly that dual-core processor is anything but "beefy" when compared to the XBox's processor.

    • Why is the minimum req. a beefy dual core processor?

      The X-box has nowhere near that amount of power - why keep this technology away from smaller and less power-hungry platforms?

      Yes it does. The Xbox 360 has a triple-core PowerPC-based processor clocked at 3.2Ghz.

      The Kinect SDK requires a dual-core processor running at 2.66Ghz.

      Heck, even my 4-year old desktop PC is running a Quad core 2.4Ghz processor (Intel Core 2 Q6600)

  • As we know, the DHS cannot rely on its enormous zombie workforce to interpret and make decisions. This is why there is so much nonsense involved in the screening process... well, among the reasons why. The moment you enable a government employee to think, trouble follows.

    So now, we will have a Kinect at every checkpoint to detect odd, unusual or suspicious behavior.

  • SDK Licensing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mystik (38627) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @03:23PM (#36466992) Homepage Journal
    From the FAQ [microsoft.com]

    I noticed that the license terms for the Microsoft Kinect device allow the use of the device with the Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 S game consoles only. How can I use the Kinect device with the SDK Beta?

    Even though the warranty and software license terms for the Kinect device prohibit the use of the device with any platform other than Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 S, the license agreement for the SDK Beta supplements the Kinect device warranty and software license terms to allow your use of the device with the SDK Beta on Windows computers as well.

    I know that other drivers and development software for Kinect are available on the Web. Can I use the Kinect sensor device with these other drivers or software instead of the SDK Beta?

    No. Use of the Kinect sensor device is subject to its own warranty and software license agreement that allow you to use it solely in connection with an Xbox 360 or Xbox 360 S console. Only Microsoft can grant you the additional rights that you need to use the Kinect sensor device with a personal computer. Microsoft grants these additional rights in the SDK Beta license, but only for uses of the Kinect sensor device in connection with the SDK Beta. If you use the Kinect sensor with a platform other than Xbox 360, Xbox 360 S, or Windows (with the SDK Beta), you void the warranty you received when you purchased the Kinect sensor device.

    So, Even though you saw all those cool demos a few months ago using 'unlicensed' software, you're not allowed to run them, and they could be punished for software licence violations.

    A hardware device requires a software license?

    • by robot256 (1635039)
      Obviously, by powering on a device that contains embedded processors and firmware that you might not even know about, you implicitly agree to a EULA granting the manufacturer the right to sue you whenever they want. What, you think there should be something in the device to tell you this before you use it? That would complicate the user interface unnecessarily!
    • Re:SDK Licensing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @03:50PM (#36467368)

      If you use the Kinect sensor with a platform other than Xbox 360, Xbox 360 S, or Windows (with the SDK Beta), you void the warranty you received when you purchased the Kinect sensor device.

      So, Even though you saw all those cool demos a few months ago using 'unlicensed' software, you're not allowed to run them, and they could be punished for software licence violations.

      If you consider them refusing to fix something you broke by running software platforms they haven't tested "punishing" you, I guess.

      • The warranty is void if you have ever used third party software. Even if it only actual broke much later for an unrelated reason whilst playing a 360 game.

        I hope you got your computer supplier to test and approve slashdot before you posted!

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Paranoid a bit?

      All the part you quoted says is that using the Kinect hardware with non-Microsoft drivers voids the warranty. Well, duh!

      As far as "evil corporate conspiracies" go, that's... pretty goddamned tame. But, go ahead, twist and turn those facts to make Microsoft look evil. This is Slashdot.

    • by Xest (935314)

      "and they could be punished for software licence violations."

      That's not what it says.

      It says if you use something unapproved to interface with it that might send commands that could break it then your warranty is void.

      You'll probably find the same with your graphics card, if you use some third party drivers/tweaks that overclock it and burn it out, I doubt your warranty would be valid either.

      Still, nice try with the anti-Microsoft troll, you know, just because it's Microsoft doesn't mean you HAVE to troll t

  • Ok as far as it goes. Can the Linux version be far behind?
  • Now I can start working on the DDR MMO I've been waiting for all this time!
  • Does anyone have any idea if this can be used to make kinect work with games on windows? I'm talking about licensing problems and such, unless SDK also locks away some hardware features needed for gaming.

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Existing Kinect games are basically Xbox 360 games with some fancy motion control added on. Until somebody develops a working Xbox 360 emulator (which is probably years away), you will not be playing any of the existing Kinect games on Windows.

      Unless, of course, developers choose to release PC ports of those games, which is very unlikely but probaly not impossible.

  • 1) Use Kinect to ID human target

    2) Shoot at it.

    It'd make a devastating minefield.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not a war monger myself. I just like to know what might be coming down the pipe so I'm prepared. I'm really worried that when AI comes out in the next few decades that the first application will be military. And not just the government based military, but anyone with a large pocketbook could wage war. It is my fear that people with too much money and not enough compassion will wage wars witho
  • Do they offer a Javascript/HTML5 interface?

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:38PM (#36470450) Homepage

    Take any venue with large crowds. Stadiums, airports, clubs, concerts, etc. Now, place at least four or more of these Kinect devices all around the place. With specialized motion tracking AI, you can now capture video from multiple angles and tag individual people based on all the feeds being processed. Simply playback the captured video and rotate the entire venue with a track ball.

    Can't find who shot who? Keeping rotating, you'll eventually find him and every detail about the clothes he wears. For an added bonus, install multi-point microphones to calculate location of the shot. Merge both media data sets and you'll find your suspect fairly quickly.

    • Now, I've been doing some Kinect hacking, as part of my MSc thesis, and I've found that the range on the Kinect is less than 10 meters, and it sucks at distinguishing more than two people. Although I've seen it recognize and reasonably track as much as five people (though not their joint positions), you'd also have to write code for saving data about people visible in a single camera, and try to match the data you saved with every person entering every camera's frame. Besides being non-trivial, this gets co

  • nothing but good will come of this. I'm also ok with Microsoft ripping of the best ides, like Blizzard did with it's WoW interface API

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