The Microsoft Kinect started out as a gaming peripheral, but has grown into a low-cost way to help hackers, developers and researchers cobble together a variety of systems. From augmented reality to facial recognition, programmers have tapped into Microsoft’s free SDK to explore technologies often only relegated to those with access to expensive equipment.
Today on the Kinect for Windows blog, Microsoft announced an updated SDK for the peripheral system that enhances many of its technologies. The fourth update released in a year and a half, SDK 1.8 includes 3D scanning and green screen effects.
Here’s the full list of updates:
Green Screen Technology: The Kinect now has an API for background removal and replacement, allowing for green screen technology to be implemented for users.
Improved 3D Scanning: This is the bulk of the SDK update, which enhances the Kinect’s overall 3D scanning ability. First is enhanced color scanning, which allows the Kinect to read depth and color while scanning an image for accurate 3D prints and asset rendering. Improved tracking allows the Kinect to lock in place during a scan to reduce any unevenness. Finally, a sample educates developers on how to use two Kinects to perform a 3D scan without moving the object.
HTML5 Compatibility: Kinect video and interactivity can now work seamlessly with HTML5 features, allowing for better internet embeds as well as HTML5 features like buttons.
Better Touchscreen Capabilities: This sample educates users on scaling touchscreen capabilities depending on the size of a given screen. The algorithm in the sample accounts for ergonomics, which helps developers properly scale their UI for different sizes.
The Kinect has been a boon for developers, so it’s nice to see that Microsoft is continually updating the system for further development — even as the Xbox One will be on the scene shortly.