Microsoft has dated the Windows software development kit for Kinect, telling consumers that the software platform will be available as a free download in Spring.
In a post on the company blog yesterday, Steve Clayton spoke about the desire to encourage experimentation and development using the Kinect sensor, to help break new ground in user interface technology. Microsoft executive Steve Balmer hinted at the possibility of an official Windows SDK for Kinect at CES in January, but this is the first time the company has confirmed it officially.
"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," wrote Clayton, who edits the official 'What's next at Microsoft' blog. "Already, researchers, academics and enthusiasts are thinking through what's next in natural and intuitive technology.
"The Kinect for Windows SDK is being developed and released by Microsoft Research in collaboration with Interactive Entertainment Business. It will be available this spring as a free download, and will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system - such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself.
"Supporting this community and enabling creativity around natural user interfaces is important to us, and our hope is that this SDK will ignite further creativity in an already vibrant ecosystem of enthusiasts. We are very excited by this announcement. Not only does it showcase our investment in this important technology trend, but it ensures that people have the tools they desire to revolutionize how people interact with technology."
Since the device's launch in November several hobbyists, hackers and technologists have been releasing videos showing what Kinect can do with a bit of applied creative thinking. For a summary of those efforts, head over to Digital Foundry at Eurogamer.