Kinect for Windows releases SDK update and launches in China

I’m very pleased to announce that the latest Kinect for Windows runtime and software development kit (SDK) have been released today. I am also thrilled to announce that the Kinect for Windows sensor is now available in China.

Developers and business leaders around the world are just beginning to realize what’s possible when the natural user interface capabilities of Kinect are made available for commercial use in Windows environments. I look forward to seeing the innovative things Chinese companies do with this voice and gesture technology, as well as the business and societal problems they are able to solve with it.

Kinect for Windows availability: current and coming soon


The updated SDK gives developers more powerful sensor data tools and better ease of use, while offering businesses the ability to deploy in more places. The updated SDK includes:

Extended sensor data access

  • Data from the sensor's 3-axis accelerometer is now exposed in the API. This enables detection of the sensor's orientation.
  • Extended-range depth data now provides details beyond 4 meters. Extended-range depth data is data beyond the tested and certified ranges and is therefore lower accuracy. For those developers who want access to this data, it’s now available.
  • Color camera settings, such as brightness and exposure, can now be set explicitly by the application, allowing developers to tune a Kinect for Windows sensor’s environment.
  • The infrared stream is now exposed in the API. This means developers can use the infrared stream in many scenarios, such as calibrating other color cameras to the depth sensor or capturing grayscale images in low-light situations.
  • The updated SDK used with the Kinect for Windows sensors allows for faster toggling of IR to support multiple overlapping sensors.

Access to all this data means new experiences are possible: Whole new scenarios open up, such as monitoring manufacturing processes with extended-range depth data. Building solutions that work in low-light settings becomes a reality with IR stream exposure, such as in theaters and light-controlled museums. And developers can tailor applications to work in different environments with the numerous color camera settings, which enhance an application’s ability to work perfectly for end users.

One of the new samples released demonstrates a best-in-class UI based on the Kinect for Windows

One of the new samples released demonstrates a best-in-class UI based on the Kinect for Windows
Human Interface Guidelines called the Basic Interactions – WPF sample.

Improved developer tools

  • Kinect Studio has been updated to support all new sensor data features.
  • The SDK ships with a German speech recognition language pack that has been optimized for the sensor's microphone array.
  • Skeletal tracking is now supported on multiple sensors within a single application.
  • New samples show how to use all the new SDK features. Additionally, a fantastic new sample has been released that demonstrates a best-in-class UI based on the Kinect for Windows Human Interface Guidelines called the Basic Interactions – WPF sample.

We are committed to continuing to make it easier and easier for developers to create amazing applications. That’s why we continue to invest in tools and resources like these. We want to do the heavy lifting behind the scenes so the technologists using our platform can focus on making their specific solutions great. For instance, people have been using our Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) to design more natural, intuitive interactions since we released last May. Now, the Basic Interactions sample brings to life the best practices that we described in the HIG and can be easily repurposed.

Greater support for operating systems

  • Windows 8 compatibility. By using the updated Kinect for Windows SDK, you can develop a Kinect for Windows solution for Windows 8 desktop applications.
  • The latest SDK supports development with Visual Studio 2012 and the new Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.
  • The Kinect for Windows sensor now works on Windows running in a virtual machine (VM) and has been tested with the following VM environments: Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare, and Parallels. 

Windows 8 compatibility and VM support now mean Kinect for Windows can be in more places, on more devices. We want our business customers to be able to build and deploy their solutions where they want, using the latest tools, operating systems, and programming languages available today.

This updated version of the SDK is fully compatible with previous commercial versions, so we recommend that all developers upgrade their applications to get access to the latest improvements and to ensure that Windows 8 deployments have a fully tested and supported experience.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, over the next few months we will be making Kinect for Windows sensors available in seven more markets: Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Puerto Rico. Stay tuned; we’ll bring you more updates on interesting applications and deployments in these and other markets as we learn about them in coming months.

Craig Eisler
General Manager, Kinect for Windows

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Comments (10)

  1. Curtis says:

    Windows 8 desktop application = no WinRT, right?  

  2. Ben Lower says:

    @Curtis that's correct.  we don't currently support WinRT.  i'd love to hear what you're thinking about building and learn how WinRT would help you.  please hit me up on twitter (@benlower).

  3. Jeremy says:

    I'm not a developer, just the I.T department manager for a local government, but I was shocked to learn of the lack of WinRT support.

    Not supporting WinRT would be a bad decision for Microsoft, missing an opportunity to increase interest and sales of Windows 8, Xbox and Kinect, not to mention leaving out a differentiator to temp developers over to Windows. I hope this is not the actual decision Microsoft has made, and instead just a clever ploy to surprise everyone with Kinect-enabled WinRT apps on Windows 8 launch day.

    Kinect is a natural fit for the Modern UI, as demonstrated on Xbox for the past few years. I'm referring specifically to the user interface of the Xbox home screen, an obvious precursive step in the development towards the Windows 8 Modern UI. I actually assumed Kinect was coming to Windows 8's new UI, and that the next Xbox interface would be the same UI as Windows 8 RT… it seems so natural a development.

    Here's a home example: An OS-updated Xbox with Kinect with any Windows 8 RT app.

    Another home example: My home entertainment centre has cable TV, Wii, Xbox, and a tiny computer connected to it. I currently use a wireless mouse and keyboard to control the computer. The keyboard is great for typing, but for everyday things like browsing the web or checking email, I think Kinecting with my PC would be so much easier, especially if the accuracy is improved with the next gen of Kinect devices. Also, I can Bing from my Xbox just by talking to it, so why can't I do this on my computer?

    Here's a work example: Kinect as the controller for a speaker giving a presentation from his laptop. From a wireless Kinect device paired to my laptop (or embedded in the lid of the laptop) I could navigate from the Start screen to the Skydrive app and launch a slideshow, picture or video, or navigate to IE10 to show the audience a website, or launch a video call to remote participants, all hands-free.

    Windows 8 already has the perfect UI for Kinect as proven by Xbox, so why wouldn't Windows 8 natively support Kinect as an input method on par with mouse, keyboard and fingers? It's simply the next logical step, so why delay and let the competition beat you to it?

  4. says:

    hi, Craig, we are very pleased to communicate with you. As an innovative enterprise in China, in order to make more revolutionary improvements on our software, we have planned to select Kinect as an auxiliary tool. In addition, we want to give clients high-value service. Based on a long term marketing research we have done in China, we are convinced that our clients are willing to pay for our service. This is also supported by experts in our team who are very good at finding more clients with their broad channels. However, all of these will depend on whether we will be sufficiently supported by Microsoft. We hope we will keep in touch to know more of each other. Please feel free to contact us by

  5. CSRedRat says:

    This is great update!

  6. We are reaching out to you via email. Thanks for your interest!

  7. tjmicropower says:

    How to make the manipulator pick up on the conveyor belt product? use kinect sdk for windows

  8. Cyberdyme says:

    Not making in work with WinRT is really stupid idea.

  9. Hi, I installed Kinect SDK and Toolkit of the latest version before Visual Studio 2012 professional. After I installed VS 2012, I found it can't create Kinect project (but my VS 2010 Professional can). And then, I reinstalled Kinect SDK and Toolkit, VS2012 still cannot create Kinect project. How could I solve this issue? Thanks!

  10. Xinwen- The developer community and Kinect for Windows engineers are actively monitoring forums to answer your questions. Please visit our forums

    Thank you!

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