Microsoft gives Kinect SDK to 'academics, enthusiasts'
Non-commercial 'starter kit'
Microsoft has announced that it will release a Kinect for Windows SDK "starter kit" this spring "to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich natural user interfaces" using the motion-sensing device.
"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 Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie when announcing the non-commercial SDK on Monday.
Microsoft says that the non-commercial SDK will "give users access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor."
Kinect has already been hacked to work with Mac OS X and with Windows PCs, and Microsoft has already said that an official Windows version was on its way – a stance reiterated in Monday's announcement, which said that Noting that a commercial version will be available "at a later date."
Exactly when that might be is anyone's guess – and at last month's Consumer Electronics Show, CEO Steve Ballmer said only that the Kinect for Windows SDK would be released "in the right time." ®
Perhaps they have seen how the PS3 hacking thing is going for Sony and decided that it is better to embrace and extend than piss people off...
A win for MS. This almost off sets Windows 7 mobile... almost.
In my book credit goes to Johnny Lee:
It looks like Microsoft have actually learned something about embracing an enthusiastic community rather than trying to roll the tanks over it.
I mean, LEGO took the same step years ago with their robotics firmware and have gone from strength to strength with community liason (and the associated truck loads of free publicity). It's about time one of the tech behemoths caught up with the modern world.
Firstly, no-one but blinkered, narrow minded Linux fanboyz actually care. Most people in the real world use Windows or Mac, whether you like it or not.
Secondly, credit where credit is due - MS actually released an innovative product and have reacted to demand for a toolkit in a considered manner, rather than a rushed, knee-jerk fashion.
Not comparable to Sony
Hacking of the Kinect USB protocol can not really be compared to the current row surrounding jailbreaking PS3s. The former can result only in more sales of the Kinects. The latter could result in less sales of PS3 games (though even that is not a given).
MS were pretty quick to state that they didn't mind people sniffing the USB protocol. They must have been pretty pleased in fact. Such enthusiasm could only mean that they had a market success on their hands! The free positive publicity must have been welcome too.
It will be interesting to see if the SDK has more in it than the kits that already been brewed. It would be impressive if it turns out that MS base their SDK on one of the home brewed ones!!