What you'll get in the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK

Microsoft spills the beans on what's coming in its imminent Kinect for Windows SDK beta.

If you're waiting for Microsoft's official do-it-yourself motion-sensing PC kit, you won't have to wait much longer. Microsoft says the Kinect for Windows software development kit (beta) will ship this spring, and they've put up a research page to prove it.

"Coming later this spring, the Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Microsoft Windows 7," reads the site, just above an RSS button that lets you keep tabs on further dispatches.

They're talking details too, claiming you'll be able to avail yourself of audio tools like "a four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for crystal clear audio" and "beamforming," a sound source determination process that lets you position sounds spatially.

You'll also be able to fiddle with "depth data" (the distance from an object to Kinect) and "robust skeletal tracking capabilities" for fixing on the location of not just one but two people moving inside Kinect's field of view.

Microsoft says it'll release API documentation as well an overview of the SDK architecture and offer sample code "that demonstrates how to use the functionality in the SDK."

Will Microsoft support non-Microsoft operating systems? Surely not, but then -- when it comes to hack-friendly gizmos like Kinect -- who needs official support anyway?

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Matt Peckham

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