At the Mix 11 conference in Las Vegas today, Microsoft took the wraps off an SDK to allow Windows developers access to the the array of sensors and skeleton-tracking technology that make up their popular Kinect sensor. Due out in spring as a free download, it gives Microsoft’s official stamp of approval to some of the homebrew Kinect hacking efforts that have already yielded impressive results in terms of 3-D imaging, robotics control, and other great tricks.
Early demos at the show included a gesture-controlled version of Worldwide Telescope:
…as well as some Minority Report-style screen navigation.
I’m guessing, however, that the best is yet to come, as thousands of developers crack open the SDK and start mucking around with the astonishing range of control that the Kinect offers. I’ll also be very interested in learning whether it will be possible to integrate the SDK with Microsoft’s own XNA game development system so that a single code-base might work on both PCs and XBox platforms. The possibilities seem immense for making some truly exciting new types of interfaces.