It’s only been two months since the availability of the the Kinect for Windows SDK beta but the reception and creativity of the wider developer community are already pushing expectations for natural user interfaces. To continue the community spirit, it’s been confirmed the SDK is going to remain in the sharing and caring hands of Microsoft Research for the foreseeable future.
At TechEd Australia, Stewart Tansley of Microsoft Research also revealed that contrary to the more common transition of technology from MSR to a commercial Microsoft product, it was actually the Xbox team who contacted MSR’s computer vision experts to assist them with the Natal project which they had already made remarkable progress on their own. Of course now going forward they will be working collaboratively to continue the Kinect’s development for both the Xbox and PC.
The use of Kinect in nsquared’s “seamless computing” concept was one of many examples of an innovative exploratory project that Microsoft Research thinks help refine the relatively new concept of natural user interfaces. It also wants to encourage the community to learn from each other through sharing code and libraries that help set the framework for more advanced NUI development in the future.
Of course for those who have commercial interests for the Kinect, the commercial-licensed SDK is still in the works and will actually be a superset of the current SDK with additional flexibility. Although he couldn’t share exactly what that involves, even with what’s available today, projects like the Kinect Fusion are just scratching the surface of what is possible.