Kinect for Windows released along with SDK

Microsoft has now officially extended its Kinect motion gesture and voice control to the PC. After releasing PC beta SDKs that worked with the Xbox 360 version of the device, Microsoft today launched the official Kinect for Windows product along with the 1.0 version of the Kinect for Windows SDK and runtime files.

As previously announced, the Kinect for Windows device is priced at $249, which is $100 more than the current Xbox 360 version. Microsoft has already said the lower price of the Xbox 360 model is "subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem." Microsoft will later sell the Kinect for Windows version for $149 but only for qualified educational organizations.

The 1.0 SDK and runtime files for Kinect for Windows have a number of improvements compared to the previous beta versions. They include:

  • Support for up to four Kinect sensors plugged into the same computer
  • Significantly improved skeletal tracking, including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor
  • Near Mode for the new Kinect for Windows hardware, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40 centimeters in front of the device
  • Many API updates and enhancements in the managed and unmanaged runtimes
  • The latest Microsoft Speech components (V11) are now included as part of the SDK and runtime installer
  • Improved “far-talk” acoustic model that increases speech recognition accuracy
  • New and updated samples, such as Kinect Explorer, which enables developers to explore the full capabilities of the sensor and SDK, including audio beam and sound source angles, color modes, depth modes, skeletal tracking, and motor controls
  • A commercial-ready installer which can be included in an application’s set-up program, making it easy to install the Kinect for Windows runtime and driver components for end-user deployments.
  • Robustness improvements including driver stability, runtime fixes, and audio fixes

Microsoft plans to release major updates to the Kinect for Windows SDK and runtime files two or three times a year.

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16 Comments

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Anyone with pointers where to get software to scan rooms and the outsides of buildings with this? Then perhaps load it into some other software ready for visualization or scaled 3d printing?

Ok so does this mean I can pretend to be a spy in TF2 and it picks me up walking with a knife to stab someone like my cat in the back but who is really a soldier in the game?

Not clear on this on their website. Does the February 2012 just released Kinect for Windows SDK work with the Xbox Kinect or only with the Windows Kinect?

xpclient said,
Not clear on this on their website. Does the February 2012 just released Kinect for Windows SDK work with the Xbox Kinect or only with the Windows Kinect?

Only Windows Kinect. Otherwise we would all be idiots spending $100 more.

UndergroundWire said,

Only Windows Kinect. Otherwise we would all be idiots spending $100 more.


Eventually it will be hacked and work with the Xbox 360 Kinect as well...

So instead of charging people more for the PC version, Take games seriously in Windows 8 and be a good competitor to Steam or Origin and then you can lower the price! Oh dream world!

ThaCrip said,
besides random places that use it for testing etc... is there any real use for this for the average joe?

Not yet. I'm sure with the SDK we can see interesting things done with it.

ThaCrip said,
besides random places that use it for testing etc... is there any real use for this for the average joe?

I don't see this being very useful for most people's home computer setups. I certainly don't have the space to really use Kinect in front of my computer. I don't think it would work very well with me sitting right in front of my monitor.

Seems like it would be more useful for a business. For instance, a Kinect may be a cheep way to get a 3d model of a real object sampled into the computer.

ThaCrip said,
besides random places that use it for testing etc... is there any real use for this for the average joe?

Just wait until Kinect is integrated into a laptop.

This is great news. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here. There's a lot of open ended usages for this device!

Indeed. I'd like to control my multimonitor Windows 7/8 desktop with Kinect. Not sure if this is possible now with this release or just laying the groundwork for the future.