WITH THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of the Kinect fast approaching, Microsoft has announced that it will release a commercial software developer kit (SDK) to enable its Xbox gaming motion sensor to work on Windows PCs next year.
Microsoft released a non-commercial SDK earlier this year, which led to a number of software developments for Windows, but this latest move will allow for a wider range of industries to use the Kinect system for profit.
Microsoft said that people from healthcare, education, automotive and retail industries have already approached it expressing interest in using the Kinect. It said that it has begun working with more than 200 applicants in a pilot program, including Toyota, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Razorfish, and over 25 Fortune 500 companies.
Microsoft also released a video highlighting some of the potential areas to which the Kinect can be expanded, such as use in hospitals and schools, among other sectors. The device's potential could be bigger than that of the Ipad, which has been used in operating theatres and as restaurant menus.
Kinect development for the PC started as a hack by the homebrew community, where developers successfully managed to get it to work with Linux and Windows. While Microsoft initially did not like the idea it eventually warmed to it and then began to support development, clearly recognising the desire for motion capture outside of gaming consoles.
Kinect has proven to be a popular gaming system on the Xbox 360 to rival the industry leader Nintendo Wii, but it has also expanded beyond the gaming arena, with developments like the Facecake Swivel virtual changing room, a quadrocopter controlled by Kinect movements, and an interactive installation at a cafe in Los Altos. Next year should see the Kinect in innovative uses in more applications. µ