Microsoft Research has made a low-key announcement on its own section of the company's website detailing the release of a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). Due later this spring, this SDK is intended to be a "starter kit" for application developers in the academic research and enthusiast communities to create new apps with the Kinect controller-free gaming technology.
The Kinect for Windows SDK sees Microsoft Research developing in an internal partnership with the company's Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) division. This collaboration is intended to give would-be Kinect programmers access to Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor. Although Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that his company will deliver a commercial version of the SDK "in the right time", there are no further details to share for now.
"Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces (NUI) are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us," said Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer. "The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them."
According to Microsoft's director of cloud strategy Steve Clayton, this announcement of the Kinect for Windows SDK reflects Microsoft's desire to unleash NUI technology to a broader set of software programmers in all fields. "The community that has blossomed since the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360 in November shows the breadth of invention and depth of imagination possible when people have access to ground-breaking technology. Already, researchers, academics, and enthusiasts are thinking through what's next in natural and intuitive technology."