It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve covered any real Kinect news, but the shine hasn’t yet faded from Microsoft‘s motion-sensor. Instead, the company is bracing itself for a second onslaught, with the announcement that the Kinect SDK is – officially – headed to Windows.
The software will be released in beta format sometime in the North American spring, before launching properly by the end of 2011. For the first time, Windows PC users will be able to access both low-level sensor data and high-level skeleton traffic, with Microsoft‘s blessing!
The company is leaving everything fairly wide open for developers to determine what they want to do with the technology. Examples so far include a Kinect-controlled recliner, a system which provides navigation cues to the vision-impaired, and a Kinect interface for the WorldWide Telescope. There’s an awful lot of experimentation involved in creating applications for the software, so everybody’s just a little bit excited.
Of course, most of the functionality has already been unlocked by third-party drivers, but Microsoft aren’t going to let this opportunity go to waste. The initial launch will only be for non-commercial use, with the intention to later branch out to money-making ventures, but nobody’s quite sure on what terms that will be.
…and who knows? Microsoft have already stated it predicts Kinect-like technology will become more prevalent in the future – possibly being built into hardware like laptops or monitors – and that all of this is just the first baby-step on a very impressive journey.