Microsoft today confirmed a spring roll out for a long-planned Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit, to be released free of charge for non-commercial uses, with a commercial version coming "at a later date."
Microsoft chief research officer Craig Mundie and interactive entertainment business (IEB) president Don Mattrick announced the planned SDK this morning at an internal gathering discussing the company's future vision, as reported on the official Microsoft blog
Microsoft Research is working with IEB to develop the SDK, which will give academics and enthusiasts access to "deep system information"
, including control of the unit's internal microphone, motor, and system application programming interfaces (APIs).
“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,” Mundie said. “The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them.”
A hacked PC driver for the Kinect was released almost immediately
after the game was released last November. The company initially reacted with hostility to these hacks, but eventually encouraged the development of a wide variety of homebrew applications for Kinect, so long as they don't compromise the hardware.
By the end of November, Microsoft was promising eventual XNA support
for the unit.
Microsoft planned SDK comes on top of a set of open PC drivers released last December by hardware maker PrimeSense
, though those drivers are designer to work with other "natural motion interfaces" as well as the Kinect.