UpdateKinect for Windows SDK beta now available for download!

This used to be a big fat juicy rumor: Kinect for Windows was going to be officially supported by Microsoft and an SDK (Software Development Kit) would already be in development.

Well now it’s not a rumor anymore, it has been officially confirmed by Microsoft. And even better…an actual release date was revealed too! More details after the jump!

Kinect for Window SDK is real

So, Microsoft officially confirmed the SDK that will allow everyone to create Kinect software for Windows, without having to use hacked drivers and all. What does this mean? Well very simple, Kinect will be an officially supported device for Windows, just like your mouse and keyboard are.

A glimpse of what is possible with Kinect on Windows has already been showcased in the various hacks that people made for Kinect, but now with this official support things can get a lot more interesting.

Here is the official press release by Microsoft about this Kinect for Windows SDK:

Kinect for Windows SDK to Arrive Spring 2011

Every year about this time, Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, holds an intimate gathering to discuss the company’s vision for the future: just Craig, a handful of Microsoft thinkers and select media convening for a lively show-and-tell discussion called TechForum.

I’ll have more to share here tomorrow about the prototypes shown and topics discussed during the course of the day.

This morning, Craig and Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), announced plans to release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit, or SDK, this spring.

The community that has blossomed since the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360 in November shows the breadth of invention and depth of imagination possible when people have access to ground-breaking technology. Already, researchers, academics and enthusiasts are thinking through what’s next in natural and intuitive technology. For example, in January I mentioned Craig’s talk at the Cleveland Clinic, where he highlighted students at the University of Washington’s Biorobotics Lab using Kinect with a commercially available PHANTOM Omni Haptic Device to explore how robotic surgery could be enhanced by incorporating the sense of feel.

The Kinect for Windows SDK is being developed and released by Microsoft Research (MSR) in collaboration with IEB. It will be available this spring as a free download, and will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system-such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself.

Supporting this community and enabling creativity around natural user interfaces (NUI) is important to us, and our hope is that this SDK will ignite further creativity in an already vibrant ecosystem of enthusiasts. We are very excited by this announcement. Not only does it showcase our investment in this important technology trend, but it ensures that people have the tools they desire to revolutionize how people interact with technology.

The possibilities are endless. Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a great platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues in areas such as healthcare and education.

Here’s to spring 2011 and what’s next in natural user interface technologies.

So, in short, the technology will be awesome and will allow people to make awesome stuff for Kinect and Windows. And the SDK to make this all possible will be out this Spring.

Also, if I read the press statement correctly, the SDK should be pretty easy to use (it keeps talking about ‘enthusiasts’), meaning that people without too much technical knowledge will be able to use it.

Well, I can’t wait for Spring, not only because I want to have a go at using the SDK myself, but also because I’m excited to see all the awesome stuff the community is going to come up with! This is a great move by Microsoft and I seriously love them for it!