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Microsoft to open up motion-sensing Kinect to developers, academics via SDK release

February 22, 2011 |  6:36 pm


Microsoft plans to open up its Kinect motion-sensing controller for the Xbox 360 to a wide array of engineers with the release of a Software Development Kit planned for this spring.

The Kinect SDK will be made available to noncommercial users such as enthusiasts and academic researchers.

"Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces 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, in a company blog post. "The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them."

A commercial version of the Kinect SDK is planned for a later date, Microsoft said.

"The SDK will give users access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor," the company said.

The move to release a proper Kinect SDK makes sense for Microsoft.

Kinect had already caught the attention of hackers, academics and some unwanted developers, who've come up with imaginative ways to use the camera system without such a resource.


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Photo: Employee Sean Jones exercises to a Kinect game in a Microsoft Store in Bellevue, Wash., last month. Credit: Elaine Thompson / Associated Press