Plans announced to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK this spring

imageI’m a huge fan of NUI (Natural User Interface) so I’m delighted Microsoft announced today it will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows SDK from Microsoft Research later this spring. The intent of releasing a “starter kit” for application developers is to make it easier for academics and enthusiast communities to create even richer experiences using Kinect technology.

Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, and Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business announced the plans today.
“Microsoft’s investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us,” said Mundie. “The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them. As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale,” said Mundie, “the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing.”

The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor.  Microsoft will deliver a commercial version of the SDK later.

Microsoft has deep investments in R&D in natural user interfaces (NUI). NUI is part of the company’s long term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us. The fruits of those investments manifesting across many of Microsoft’s products, including Kinect for Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Surface 2.0, Bing for Mobile and Office 2010 Mini Translator.

The possibilities are endless. Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a great platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues in areas such as healthcare and education.

If you want to read more about research project that use NUI the Situated Interaction research project is a beautiful example of how NUI will get included more and more into everyday tasks and collaboration. Some great video’s in  Dan Bohus & Eric Horvitz papers and videos.

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