January 9, 2012 AT 11:33 pm

Kinect Sensor for Windows – Will the open-source drivers still work?

Pt 423

Wow, this is weird.

There was a time when Microsoft would not even consider a Kinect for Windows, but the open-source community created so many amazing projects (and products) a new effort was started to Window-ize and SDK-ize the Kinect to be part of all of this. And now Microsoft is selling the Kinect for Windows.

This Kinect Sensor for Windows has a shortened USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and includes a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. The new firmware enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. “Near Mode” will enable a whole new class of “close up” applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360.

The Kinect for Windows sensor unit is intended to be used with the following:
-Kinect for Windows Commercial SDK
-An application that was developed using the Kinect for Windows Commercial SDK and associated runtime software.

Note: The senor unit does not ship with any software, and will only operate with an application developed for Kinect for Windows.

Hardware Requirements
-32 bit (x86) or 64 bit (x64) processor
-Dual-core 2.66-GHz or faster processor
-Dedicated USB 2.0 bus
-2 GB RAM

  • Utilize Kinect skeletal-tracking, sophisticated microphone array, and other sensor technologies
  • Link computers to Kinect devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8 Developer Preview
  • Run applications built with the Kinect for Windows Commercial Software Development Kit (SDK)
  • Use the Kinect for Windows SDK to build applications with C++, C#, or Visual Studio Basic by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
  • The sensor will only work on computers running the SDK softawre

It’s $249 -On the box is says “FOR COMMERCIAL USE”. And also says “Kinect for Windows Commercial Software Development Kit (SDK)”. That seems to include the commercial SDK. Not sure what the terms are, anyone know?

It seems to have different firmware, some different hardware… We’ll see if it works with the open-source drivers, and if not – someone will need to do a bounty to hack it, again… We wonder if they’re shipping hardware that can only be used if you agree to some terms before you get the SDK… It seems to be completely free?

We have chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows, which means that we will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime; these will be available free to developers and end-users respectively. As an independent developer, IT manager, systems integrator, or ISV, you can innovate with confidence knowing that you will not pay license fees for the Kinect for Windows software or the ongoing software updates, and the Kinect for Windows hardware you and your customers use is supported by Microsoft.

It does say you need to buy this new hardware though…

Although we encourage all developers to understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software, those developers using our SDK and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware may continue to use these in their development activities if they wish. However, non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 that were allowed using the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software. Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.

We don’t have an opinion on this yet, we’re jet-lagged – give us a few to think this one over :)

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5 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s time for an OSHW bounty? OpenKinect…

    http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4210649/Kinect-s-BOM-roughly–56–teardown-finds-

  2. Gonna wait until they release Kinect for Linux.

  3. I am a student and I already have access to the SDK for free I have not checked it out yet. I will give it a look tomorrow but I dont have a Kinect yet so I cant give it a full in dept look yet.

  4. hey, the beast of redmond is not the only game in town. asus has released a sensor compatible with openNI with support for linux and windows. perhaps it will also work with openKinect. see http://us.estore.asus.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=4001

  5. i think microsoft should releases a new firmware package to update the kinect for xbox 360 to new firmware for near depth tracking that is used in kinect for windows.if this is not then there will be a great disappointment,and millions of kinects for xbox 360 will go into trash.

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