Kinect for Windows 1.5 software due in late May

It's been close to two months since Microsoft first launched the Kinect for Windows device, along with the 1.0 version of its SDK. This week, Microsoft announced that the 1.5 version of the SDK would be released sometime in late May with a number of new features and improvements.

Among the new additions will be Kinect Studio. Microsoft says it will help Kinect software developers by recording and playing back clips of people who are using the applications they are making for the device. It will also add what Microsoft is calling 10-joint skeletal tracking and it will allow Kinect for Windows apps to track the head, neck and arms of a user if he or she is standing up or sitting down.

The 1.5 SDK will include support for four new spoken languages, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. It will also support some specific dialects for the Kinect voice recognition features such as how residents in the UK and Ireland speak English or how Canadians speak French.

Microsoft also announced that Kinect for Windows will be available for sale in late May in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. It will expand to even more countries in June, including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

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I was very optimistic about Kinect as long as there was one device. The retail version of the Xbox Kinect was supposed to work with PCs as it had additional cables and power adapter, not there in Xbox Kinect bundle. Then Microsoft muddied the situation for those who purchased Xbox Kinect by introducing yet another Kinect and making the price ridiculous.

There are other reasons to use a Kinect on the PC other than simple gestures and launching applications or playing games. the Kinect has in the past been "hacked" to be able to be used for motion capture and generally aid Animation. If a software comes from MS instead of the need for every individual to write their own code then it definitely has my vote.

DeViL LaW said,
There are other reasons to use a Kinect on the PC other than simple gestures and launching applications or playing games. the Kinect has in the past been "hacked" to be able to be used for motion capture and generally aid Animation. If a software comes from MS instead of the need for every individual to write their own code then it definitely has my vote.

Some of things you mentioned are from MS, not 'hacked' implementations. The Kinect SDK has been available for a while now, and the 1.5 SDK being announced provides more non-XBox usage features to developers.

The best Kinect stuff, like the 3D modeling and room rendering and augmented reality demonstrations are all from Microsoft and something any developer can already start using.

The early SDK had a lot of limitations with 'tracking' users in non-XBox methods, like laying on a couch or sitting at a desk. As the Skeletal tracking didn't work in non-T body placement situations. The 1.5 release is a big step by providing this functionality to developers from the MS work instead of having to create or use a custom library.

I'm really looking forward to the potentials here... mostly in true integrated voice control, but also in use of gestures (which could make Win8 much better for non-touch PCs), and what developers come up with on their own.

As long as it isn't very pricey.

Considering the KfW SDK seems to say the X360 Kinect isn't licensed for use on the PC and there's no chance in hell of me buying a second one (even though I doubt they'll actually bar its use)....wake me up when they change their tune, otherwise I don't think they'll gain a hell of a lot of traction on this.

The X360 Kinect can never be used for PC. The technology requires much more distance to sense motions. KfW has a much smaller min distance (about half a meter).

The X360 Kinect can never be used for PC. The technology requires much more distance to sense motions. KfW has a much smaller min distance (about half a meter).

Zagadka said,
The X360 Kinect can never be used for PC. The technology requires much more distance to sense motions. KfW has a much smaller min distance (about half a meter).

I'll take that as 'can be used for PC fine, just in a different way.'

randomevent said,
Considering the KfW SDK seems to say the X360 Kinect isn't licensed for use on the PC and there's no chance in hell of me buying a second one (even though I doubt they'll actually bar its use)....wake me up when they change their tune, otherwise I don't think they'll gain a hell of a lot of traction on this.

It isn't about milking people into buying a new device. It is about the features they are requiring developers for Windows to support and focus on that does require the newer close range features.

There isn't a 'limit' from you using it, but developers must design Windows Games to use the newer device that has 'close up' range and also the sitting/upper body tracking and recognition technologies for users sitting at a desk.

This is more about developers and consistency.

As Kinect technology continues to be used more in gaming and other applications (like 3D model creation), there will come the day you will probably buy another one for your PC, and also look for Tablet and Laptop integrated Kinect technologies and after market clip to monitor Kinect replacing the Microsoft HD Cameras.

There is a lot of buzz in 'industry' for Kinect technology use in non-gaming environments: health care, engineering, manufacturing - robotic control and parts modeling and reproduction, as well as more obvious retail applications that provide a dressing room experience.

Imagine remodeling a room, and having the designer come in and do a sweep of the home with a Kinect enabled Tablet, and then in real time move, paint, texture, design the room in a few minutes.

As look at gaming on the PC that is far more in depth and technical than console games. Take an advanced MMO or strategy game that can use gestures, head tracking, facial expressions, voice control macro and commands, that will add another level of immersion. Heck even a game that has the user use the kinect to scan their body and create a 3D model that can be used in game and run around with game gear on your body.


thenetavenger said,
As look at gaming on the PC that is far more in depth and technical than console games. Take an advanced MMO or strategy game that can use gestures, head tracking, facial expressions, voice control macro and commands, that will add another level of immersion. Heck even a game that has the user use the kinect to scan their body and create a 3D model that can be used in game and run around with game gear on your body.

I suspect there'll be a completely new version of Kinect before anything like that happens. I'm not holding my breath.

The only way that Kinect for Windows is going to succeed is if the experience is tailored to the typical PC setup - i.e. somebody sitting down in front of a computer monitor. Obviously there are people - like myself - that have a HDTV connected to their PC and the space to stand in front of it for moving around but that isn't the norm. Rather, it should be used for head tracking, facial recognition, lip-reading, etc.

Unfortunately there just isn't the marketing and software support behind this to make it a success. I find it surprising that Microsoft has gone to the effort of supporting it for the PC without any attempt to stimulate uptake. It seems like they've simply created official drivers, shoved it in a different box and just want to see what happens. Hopefully Win8 and the Metro app market will change that but I'm not sure that will be enough.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The only way that Kinect for Windows is going to succeed is if the experience is tailored to the typical PC setup - i.e. somebody sitting down in front of a computer monitor. Obviously there are people - like myself - that have a HDTV connected to their PC and the space to stand in front of it for moving around but that isn't the norm. Rather, it should be used for head tracking, facial recognition, lip-reading, etc.

Unfortunately there just isn't the marketing and software support behind this to make it a success. I find it surprising that Microsoft has gone to the effort of supporting it for the PC without any attempt to stimulate uptake. It seems like they've simply created official drivers, shoved it in a different box and just want to see what happens. Hopefully Win8 and the Metro app market will change that but I'm not sure that will be enough.

You might want to look up the information on the 1.5 SDK release, as it is designed around the EXACT things you are requesting.

New tracking for head, face, and other features specifically for users sitting at a desk and not for people just running around the room.

This + windows 8 and kinect enabled pc games = awesome. People will probably say they don't want to jump around etc but it says, can be used sitting down, can track the head and neck as well. So you could just sitdown, say (PC launch metro), then flick through by either tilting your head to the side or a swipe gesture with your arm. Maybe even precise movements with the head to select what app/program to launch. Would be cool if they adjust tracking so you could swipe a lot easier from close range so you can just swipe your finger an inch or two to control windows 8. I have a feeling that is the main limitation right now, you have to be at least 2.6ft away, maybe the kinect 2 will help that.