Microsoft has announced the release of the Kinect SDK beta for the Windows platform. The SDK cannot be used for the development of Kinect applications for the Xbox 360 but can be used to create Windows based applications for that use the interactivity of the Kinect device. Microsoft has released a Xbox Kinect Windows development website which includes the SDK and required downloads and drivers for development. In addition they have created a Channel 9 QuickStart site which is complete with video tutorials, code downloads, installation instructions, etc.
Kinect SDK beta limited to non commercial use only
One of the key restrictions of the Kinect SDK for Windows is that the usage is limited to non commercial application usage. The website states that the SDK is academic scholarly research, classroom training and professional/personal research and experimentation. A scope and availability of the commercial version of the SDK that includes Xbox development has not been announced.
So do I need a new Xbox 360 to try this?
The answer is no. All you need is a Windows 7 PC with at least 4 GB of RAM and a Kinect device to get started. The cheapest place to get a Kinect device for development is Amazon. However, one thing to mention is that you need to but the Kinect device separately since the device bundled with the Xbox 360 does not include the USB cable for the Kinect. Therefore you will have to buy a Xbox 360 AC Adapter power supply with the USB cable separately in order to do development if you have the bundled Kinect device.
Feel free to leave a comment if you are planning on developing for the Kinect using the new SDK. I’d love to hear about it and plan to post my development experiences here soon. Have fun!