Microsoft just announced, at the Build Conference that is going on right now, that the second version of Kinect for Windows would hit stores sometime this summer. New to V2 of the Kinect is a SDK (Software development kit). With this SDK, “developers will be able to start creating Windows Store apps with Kinect for the first time. The ability to build such apps has been a frequent request from the developer community. We are delighted that it’s now on the immediate horizon.”1
This is a major step for Microsoft. The announcement “marks an important step forward in Microsoft’s vision of providing a unified development platform across Windows devices, from phones to tablets to laptops and beyond. Moreover, access to the Windows Store opens a whole new marketplace for business and consumer experiences created with Kinect for Windows.”2 Further, the V2 of the Kinect is incredibly more powerful than its predecessor. V2 adds richer and much improved “color fidelity, video definition, field of view, depth perception, and skeletal tracking.” Further the SDK itself is incredibly robust:
The Kinect for Windows v2 SDK brings the sensor’s new capabilities to life:
- Window Store app development: Being able to integrate the latest human computing technology into Windows apps and publish those to the Windows Store will give our developers the ability to reach more customers and open up access to natural user experiences in the home.
- Unity Support: We are committed to supporting the broader developer community with a mix of languages, frameworks, and protocols. With support for Unity this summer, more developers will be able to build and publish their apps to the Windows Store by using tools they already know.
- Improved anatomical accuracy: With the first-generation SDK, developers were able to track up to two people simultaneously; now, their apps can track up to six. And the number of joints that can be tracked has increased from 20 to 25 joints per person. Lastly, joint orientation is better. The result is skeletal tracking that’s greatly enhanced overall, making it possible for developers to deliver new and improved applications with skeletal tracking, which our preview participants are calling “seamless.”
- Simultaneous, multi-app support: Multiple Kinect-enabled applications can run simultaneously. Our community has frequently requested this feature and we’re excited to be able to give it to them with the upcoming release.3
It will be exciting to see the apps that people build with this new SDK. Here is a video of the Kinect V2 in action:
- Kinect for Windows Product Blog, “Windows Store app development is coming to Kinect for Windows,” 2 April 2014 ▲
- Ibid ▲
- Ibid ▲