I have recently started playing with the Kinet SDK for Windows and I am fascinated by the possibilities it offers. I made a little security app based on the VB demo code and I would love to get Media Center hooked up to my Kinect,  there are demos out at the moment but I want to have a go myself.

Where I think it would really come in to its own is with Windows 8 and the metro UI so I was really pleased to see that Microsoft have updated the Kinect SDK to include support for Windows 8. The Kinect for windows SDK Beta 2 includes:

Since the Beta 1 Refresh release, the following changes have been made:

  • Significant improvements to skeletal tracking:
    • Accuracy has been improved overall, resulting in more precise tracking.
    • Skeletal Frame delivery is faster, resulting in reduced latency.
    • Skeletal Tracking is now multi-threaded and can take advantage of multiple CPU cores.
    • When using 2 Kinects, developers can now specify which one is used for skeletal tracking.
  • API support for detecting and managing device status changes, such as device unplugged, device plugged in, power unplugged, etc.  Apps can reconnect to the Kinect device after it is plugged in, after the computer returns from suspend, etc.  See the Shape Game sample code for the best example.
  • Developers using the audio within WPF no longer need to access the DMO from a separate thread.  You can create the KinectAudioSource on the UI thread and simplify your code.
  • The driver, runtime, and SDK work correctly on the Windows 8 Developer Preview for desktop applications.
  • The SDK can be used to build 64-bit applications.  Previously, only 32-bit applications could be built.
  • NuiImageBuffer has been replaced by INuiFrameTexture, defined in MSR_NuiImageCamera.h.  It is no longer necessary to include the file NuiImageBuffer.h in your project.
  • The SDK install structure and default location have changed.  The install location is in the environment variable %KINECTSDK_DIR% which defaults to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Kinect\v1.0 Beta2
  • Sample code changes:
    • There are is a new C# sample: KinectAudioDemo.
    • The samples have been updated.  Also the C# samples use helpers, KinectWpfViewers, that may be useful in your apps.
    • The samples are now installed to Samples folder of the SDK directory, which defaults to C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Kinect\v1.0 Beta2\Samples.  Unzip the samples file to view the source code.  We recommend that you unzip them to somewhere outside of the Program Files directory.
  • Driver and runtime stability and performance improvements, especially for the managed API layer.

You can download the SDK from the Microsoft download center

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