Kinect SDK developers sign up announced; public release due spring [Update]

Microsoft’s research wing has announced that developers can now sign up for the Kinect Software Development Kit (SDK) that will launch soon, with a full SDK beta for hobbyists on the way on May 16 later in the spring.

According to Mary-Jo Foley, Microsoft officials made the announcement at Mix 11 earlier in the day and even gave additional details as to what the developer’s edition of the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK will include.

While according to the official Kinect for Windows SDK beta page, the  set of tools will allow you to:

  • The latest advances in audio processing, which include a four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for crystal clear audio.
  • Sound source localization for beamforming, which enables the determination of a sound’s spatial location, enhancing reliability when integrated with the Microsoft speech recognition API.
  • Depth data, which provides the distance of an object from the Kinect camera, as well as the raw audio and image data, which together open up opportunities for creating richer natural user interface experiences.
  • Highly performant and robust skeletal tracking capabilities for determining the body positions of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view.
  • Documentation for the APIs and a description of the SDK architecture.
  • Sample code that demonstrates how to use the functionality in the SDK.

Since the release of the Xbox 360 Kinect in November, hackers have been creating homebrew applications and games for the motion camera. The Kinect homebrew began shortly after its launch, with a number of applications including a Star Wars light saber application, a Minority Report style control, and a 3D demonstration.

Microsoft previously announced that the Kinect for Windows SDK would be available sometime in Spring 2011. According to sources, the SDK was originally scheduled to be available all along, but the company needed to set its priority first. The Kinect SDK will be available for free in beta form to everyone on May 16 in the Spring, and a commercial SDK license will also be available in the near future.

Update: Thanks to Microsoft for letting us know that The Microsoft Research twitter feed has retracted the May 16 date and removed the tweet that had that date included in it. They now state that it "later this Spring". The e-mail reiterated that it will not be released on May 16.

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