Official Kinect SDK Released

Microsoft just released the beta of the Kinect for Windows SDK. Although, “Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products” it appears Microsoft have changed their tune and released APIs for C++, C# and Visual Basic seven months after the Kinect was officially hacked.

We’ve seen libraries being developed since the launch of Kinect, culminating in the OpenKinect project. The Microsoft release covers the same ground as the OpenKinect project, and will hopefully improve on attempts to get audio out of the Kinect.

We’ve seen Kinect hacks run the gamut from telepresence, to robotics, to 3D modeling, so the Kinect seems like a great tool in the builder’s arsenal. The Kinect is a wonderful tool, and even though most of the functionality has already been replicated by the open-source community, it’s nice to know there’s official support for all the great projects we’ve seen.

21 thoughts on “Official Kinect SDK Released

  1. First thing that would get me to buy a Kinetic would be:

    A programm to detect me tilting my head left or right and lets me map that to two arbritary key presses that “stay pressed” until i move my head back into to a calibrated neutral angle;

    To control leaning in FPS games.

    Make it work with me sitting at under 1 meter from the screen, whitout having to buy that nearer than intended lense addon.

    Then make the mic work for voice-activated mm3 with my stereo blasting in the background. You can substract the music and ingame sounds from the signal too, as they are coming from the computer the K is connected to, hm’k? :)

    And if you haven’t read that elsewhere, here is a snip from the faq:

    I noticed that the license terms for the Microsoft Kinect device allow the use of the device with the Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 S game consoles only. How can I use the Kinect device with the SDK Beta?

    Even though the warranty and software license terms for the Kinect device prohibit the use of the device with any platform other than Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 S, the license agreement for the SDK Beta supplements the Kinect device warranty and software license terms to allow your use of the device with the SDK Beta on Windows computers as well.

    I know that other drivers and development software for Kinect are available on the Web. Can I use the Kinect sensor device with these other drivers or software instead of the SDK Beta?

    No. Use of the Kinect sensor device is subject to its own warranty and software license agreement that allow you to use it solely in connection with an Xbox 360 or Xbox 360 S console. Only Microsoft can grant you the additional rights that you need to use the Kinect sensor device with a personal computer. Microsoft grants these additional rights in the SDK Beta license, but only for uses of the Kinect sensor device in connection with the SDK Beta. If you use the Kinect sensor with a platform other than Xbox 360, Xbox 360 S, or Windows (with the SDK Beta), you void the warranty you received when you purchased the Kinect sensor device.

  2. Microsoft stated their objection was due to a misunderstanding about how the word “hack” was being used, and that they intentionally left the USB interface open hoping someone would figure out a clever use for it. In fact, the bounty was posted by someone working on the Kinect team at the time(Johnny Lee himself, now working for Google).

    Microsoft knew exactly who Kinect would be most attractive to, and owning an Xbox has nothing to do with it.

  3. FYI Hack buddies,
    Even though people were able to do hack jobs on kinect and do cool stufs, they cannot publish in journals. Reverse engineering is not accepted and will get sued. So now the schools are forced to use kinect official SDK if they want to publish and also use Win 7. Also I will say there are really smart guys working at MS, and if we say we did something before they did…. Ehh….. I will think twice to say that. I will be going with MS SDK since completely .NET and reduced time to develop instead of spending too much time to read other peoples own standard. The only think I am disappointed is the time they took to release the SDK.

  4. Of course the warranty is void if you use the Kinect with non-Microsoft hardware/software.

    If you blow up your Kinect by trying to get it working on your C64 (and I’ve seen things this ridiculous here), it’s only fair that Microsoft should not be held responsible for free repairs.

    Furthermore, a warranty also implies technical support. Because a Kinect is not a standalone device, that support must extend to any hardware/software it’s connected to. Again, it’s only fair that Microsoft not have to provide technical support for getting the Kinect working with every possible platform, OS, and 3rd party driver.

    There is nothing particularly malicious about this. Just Microsoft covering their arse with a nice big blanket, as is prudent.

  5. Before you go about using this official SDK, take note of the licensing terms:

    They only allow people to use it for non-commercial activities.

    IANAL, but I’d recommend steering clear of it if your project is Open Hardware (as per the OSHW definition) and/or you hope to pay your bills with your work.

  6. Glad to read that the SDK causes windows 7 to see the microphones as an array instead of individual inputs. I don’t own a Kinect yet but now I want to borrow one to test the audio quality.
    Does anyone know how much processing Windows 7 does with array microphones? Does it automatically do voice-tracking or noise cancellation?

    More info on setting up the Kinect’s audio array:

  7. @Andrew P: You think that reality wouldn’t exist if they put it on a SVN and made it LGPL or MIT? If source is available people are going to avoid paying, even entry-level users are usually covered by some third party solution when you make source available.

    I know, I’ve worked for plenty of companies who have went that route only to lose tens of thousands, at least, before tanking or abandoning. Anyone with real talent or experience in the industry knows that paid-support philosophy is total BS and bankrupts companies who even remotely rely on it.

  8. @xorpunk: You’re completely missing my point. The Open Hardware Definition (see does allow for closed-source components as long as they are clearly defined and they could be replaced with OSI-licensed variants at some future point in time. See Section 3. Necessary Software.

    The conflict is with Section 5 re. Free Redistribution. As I interpret the current wording, I couldn’t even point someone at the MS site with instructions to “download & install the API”.

    A good example of how multi-licensing can be made to work is the Nokia/Trolltech QT (L)GPL or Comercial licensing options (see That’s the one I’m most familiar with from my own work in the EDA industry; they pay for the support and to stay closed-source and protect their own IP as they see fit.

  9. @Volfram: I’ll lose sleep wondering whether you can quote me even remotely suggesting that or if you are just bending context to your own agenda…which seems to be to discredit me somehow on the subject matter..

    Most people do only really care about piracy..I’m sure now that it’s overly-obvious marcan42 would agree..

    troll on..

  10. To answer your first paragraph, please see your second paragraph. I think that’s close enough.

    To respond to your second paragraph, it’s not overly obvious. In fact, I can’t see it at all. Yes, people like getting things for free, and yes, a lot of people don’t care who they hurt to get them(such as forcibly removing advertised features, or loading rootkits on a customer’s computer when they go to play an audio CD), but pirates don’t use Linux.

    Pirates use Windows. Some use Mac OSX. Windows is easy to set up and most available software works with it. OSX is extremely popular among hipsters and people who enjoy looking down at Windows users. Both cost money, but if you’re already stealing software, what’s a $300 operating system?

    Linux is freely available. It’s also incredibly opaque. Choosing a distribution at all requires hours of research. Acquiring a distribution requires technical knowhow which most pirates don’t have(nobody downloads bootleg software that needs a ten-page manual to set up, they download bootleg software that they can install in two clicks). Getting the average Linux distribution into a state that’s usable typically takes between hours and days of constant tweaking and work.

    Anybody using Linux is doing it because of their ideals, not because they want to play Modern Warfare 3 without paying for it, regardless of the hardware they’re running it on.

  11. @Volfram: I’m not interested in pointless ‘I’m right’ arguments based on convenient personal perception.

    I only speak as someone who works in the industry, has been on the other side as an actual talent, and judges based on logic and statistics and not irrelevant social trends..

    I know..I’s only because people want a feature back that most of them never used and don’t even’s a cute form of social justification in the public eye..

    COMMON SENSE: Pirates use Windows because nobody is making AAA games for osx or also has more commercial drm and software. Linux and OSX just have minimal apps and cli tools..none with drm..

    troll on..

  12. I am not a troll.

    A troll would not invest time and thought in a losing battle with a dogmatic moron.

    A troll WOULD make a post in a hacking community telling the members that they’re all whiners and pirates.

    If the gaming industry is full of people like you, then I long for a second collapse. I hope you lose your job, I hope your family abandons you, I hope your parents, call you a failure and your children lose respect for you, I hope your wife leaves you and sells her body as a prostitute to make the money to eat every day. I hope all of your friends leave you, I hope you see your home mortgage foreclosed on, I hope you are hit by a car on the way to the unemployment office and lose permanent use of your legs and your ability to speak. I hope you die alone in the gutter for what you have done to this industry. I hope you keep your full mental faculties through the entire ordeal so that you fully experience every moment of failure, shame, disappointment, and loss.

    You, sir, are a vile, wicked individual, a bar to human progress, and a charlatan, and it is a small wonder to me that any company which thought you would be a good employee is now bankrupt.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.