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September 17, 2013

Kinect for Windows SDK 1.8 Available With Expanded Capabilities

Kinect for Windows brings the magic of Kinect technology to your PC. Over the last year and a half, the Kinect for Windows team has been hard at work understanding how developers on the PC platform want to use Kinect technology. My first experience with Kinect for Windows was creating a software prototype using the Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5, and I was amazed at how easy it was to tap into the power of Kinect on the PC platform. Today the Kinect for Windows team has released the fifth version of the Kinect for Windows SDK (version 1.8) which provides some great new capabilities.

Here’s a quick summary of the updates:

  • New background removal API. This “turn-key” green screening capability makes it easy to perform background replacement dynamically in your application. This new API should prove to be practical and fun.
  • 3D color capture capabilities with Kinect Fusion. Kinect Fusion enables your app to create 3D mesh models with a Kinect sensor. In the 1.8 Kinect for Windows SDK these capabilities have been augmented with realistic color texture mapping so that you can produce 3D models with realistic color. Since the new 3D printing capabilities in Windows 8.1 are engineered to support surface color, this new color capturing capability is particularly exciting.
  • Improved tracking for Kinect Fusion. Updated algorithms enable more reliable camera tracking as the Kinect sensor moves while scanning a scene. The result: a better Kinect Fusion experience and better 3D models.
  • Multi-sensor Kinect Fusion sample. A new sample app in the SDK demonstrates how to use two Kinect sensors to scan objects from multiple angles simultaneously.
  • Adaptive UI sample. This new sample in the Kinect for Windows SDK demonstrates how you can factor in user distance and screen size to optimize the scale of content in your app. With this capability your app can optimize the user interface and provide cool new user-aware adaptive experiences.
  • HTML interaction sample. If you like to write apps in HTML, this sample shows you how to implement interactions using HTML 5. Kinect for Windows just got more accessible to developers!

Since I have a Kinect for Windows sensor, I thought it would be fun to run some of the new sample apps that highlight these new features. In the Kinect Fusion Color Basics sample app screenshot below you can see a 3D model being formed that includes surface color data.


3D Model with color created with “Kinect Fusion Color Basics” SDK sample app

I can imagine how this updated version of Kinect Fusion would be great for the creation of 3D color avatars and a bunch of other cool scenarios. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with the new capabilities in the Kinect for Windows 1.8 SDK! If you want to know more about this new release check out the following resources:

If you have a Kinect for Windows sensor, I urge you to download the SDK and try out the cool new samples and experiences. Developers, I hope you’ll start writing some awesome apps that tap into these new capabilities!

Find me on twitter here: @GavinGear