Microsoft today announced the availability of Kinect runtime and SDK version 1.5 on their Kinect for Windows blog. The new version of the software for Windows Kinect users/developers has a number of significant enhancements especially concerning nearby, desk bound Kinect users.
Headlining improvements are:
- Kinect Studio for developers which allows recording and play back of Kinect data, streamlining development and testing time
- The face tracking SDK which allows real time tracking of facial features and their movements. Also this includes head position tracking
- Seated skeletal tracking, ignoring the leg and hip joints. This also works when the user is standing, useful, for example when the user is presenting, standing behind a podium
- Skeletal tracking in near mode (including seated skeletal near mode). Good for computer users at their desks
- Performance improvements
- Enabling of avatar animation
- Four new languages for speech recognition; French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese
- More code examples to aid developers
- A set of guidelines to help developers make natural user interfaces
The Microsoft blog at Technet says there will be more news next week and some videos of new applications using the version 1.5 enhancements. The new videos will probably appear in the Kinect for Windows gallery here showing what Kinect Accelerator teams are doing with the hardware/software.
The near mode and facial tracking improvements will be a definite boost to Kinect for Windows users, it’s good to see them and we are looking forward to see how the new features will be used in the application sneak peeks next week. Also 12 weeks from now the accelerator teams (11 developer teams chosen from over 500 applicants) will have their final demo days to show what they have come up with.