Microsoft's release of the first beta version of the Windows SDK for its Kinect motion controller camera was a big hit for researchers and for people who just wanted to tinker with Kinect for fun. This week, Microsoft announced that the second beta version of the Kinect Windows SDK has been released, although at the time of this news post the download site seems to be not working.
While this is still the non-commercial version, the second beta has a number of new features and improvements compared to the first beta release. That included "faster skeletal tracking, better accuracy rate when it comes to skeletal tracking and joint recognition, and the ability to plug and unplug your Kinect without losing work/productivity" according to Microsoft.
Microsoft has previously revealed that they are working on a commercial version of the Kinect Windows SDK which should be released sometime in 2012. We suspect this will be a big hit for software developers who will likely create a number of interesting Kinect applications, and of course games, that will run on Windows PCs. The big attraction is that these developers will be able to make some money off their Kinect apps, although so far Microsoft has yet to announce the terms of the licensing agreements.
Personally, we would love to see a Kinect app that lets us play Quake with nothing but gesture controls but that's just us.