Microsoft confirms Kinect SDK for business in 2012

Let a thousand RSI lawsuits bloom

Microsoft has confirmed it will release a full commercial SDK for the Kinect in early 2012, and it’s hoping that the technology will cross the chasm from gaming into the business world.

Steve Ballmer promised the Kinect SDK would be released at this January’s CES, and in February Microsoft confirmed a beta version for enthusiasts and academics would be out shortly, although the final release didn’t come until June.

Ballmer may now be hoping to announce the SDK's release during his annual CES keynote, to be held on January 9, 2012. That event is traditionally short on actual new products, though long on promises.

“To further fuel innovation and imagination, we will offer a Kinect for Windows commercial software developer kit early next year,” said Frank Shaw, vice president of corporate communications on the Microsoft blog. “We recognize the intense commercial interest in harnessing the capabilities of Kinect, and are working with a wide range of companies and developers to create a great set of tools and APIs.”

Microsoft is running a limited commercial pilot of the SDK, and says that so far it has had over 200 applications from enterprises in 20 countries and 25 industries from devs who want to get their hands on the kit.

In a video of what Microsoft is dubbing the “Kinect Effect”, teachers, doctors, and mechanics use gesture technology in their jobs - all to a tasteful Pixies soundtrack, as part of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to ruin the music so many of us grew up with.

Redmond’s videographers have obviously had a busy time of it, since last week the Office team released a video showing how the world of the future will be run on Office software, and what looks very like a Metro interface.

The video shows that in the future, we’ll all share data on transparent view screens (no Apple logos to be seen, obviously), be able to swap data between a whole hoard of devices (presumably with no security risk), have universal natural-language translators built into eyeglasses (something even quad-core Xeons have huge problems with now), and enjoy ubiquitous fast internet access for videoconferencing (obviously the video wasn’t set in America).

“All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology. Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration and data visualisation already exist today,” blogged Kurt DelBene, president of Microsoft’s Office division. “Others are not yet available in specific products, but represent active research and development happening at Microsoft and other companies.”

It’s interesting to see what doesn’t make it into the future – dirt, for a start. Everything is clean and shiny - even the subway and kitchen - possibly suggesting that with Office even the cleaning staff will be super-efficient. Traffic too is particularly lacking, and never once does someone download a codec.

Microsoft envisages this shining future within a decade – El Reg isn’t holding its breath.

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