Kinect for Windows SDK and Runtime version 1.5 released today, comes with newly added capabilities to help developers build amazing applications. Among others, one of the new features is "Kinect Studio," which allows developers to record and play back Kinect data, which should allow software makers to cut down on their development time.
Another new feature is the ability to add face tracking to Kinect-based software, with support for keeping track of the position of the head, the location of a person's eyebrows and the shape of a mouth.
Additionally, Kinect for Windows hardware is now available in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. "Starting next month, Kinect for Windows hardware will be available in 15 additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates," Microsoft stated.
When the wave of expansion is complete, Kinect for Windows will be available in 31 countries around the world.
Here is a rundown of the features and capbilities of the version 1.5:
- Kinect Studio, allows developers to record and play back Kinect data, dramatically shortening and simplifying the development lifecycle of a Kinect application. Now a developer writing a Kinect for Windows application can record clips of users in the application's target environment and then replay those clips at a later time for testing and further development.
- Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) guide developers on best practices for the creation of Natural User Interfaces using Kinect.
- Face Tracking SDK, provides a real-time 3D mesh of facial features--tracking the head position, location of eyebrows, shape of the mouth, etc.
- Significant sample code additions and improvements including many new samples in both C++ and C#, plus a "Basics" series of samples with language coverage in C++, C#, and Visual Basic.
- SDK documentation improvements, including new resources as well as migration of documentation to MSDN for easier discoverability and real-time updates.
- Seated Skeletal Tracking is now available. This tracks a 10-joint head/shoulders/arms skeleton, ignoring the leg and hip joints.
- Skeletal Tracking is supported in Near Mode, including both Default and Seated tracking modes.
- Performance for the mapping of a depth frame to a color frame has been significantly improved, with an average speed increase of 5x.
- Depth and color frames will now be kept in sync with each other. The Kinect for Windows runtime continuously monitors the depth and color streams and corrects any drift.
- RGB Image quality has been improved in the RGB 640x480 @30fps and YUV 640x480 @15fps video modes.
- Kinect for Windows runtime provides Joint Orientation information for the skeletons tracked by the Skeletal Tracking pipeline.
- The Joint Orientation is provided in two forms: A Hierarchical Rotation based on a bone relationship defined on the Skeletal Tracking joint structure, and an Absolute Orientation in Kinect camera coordinates.
Go to Kinect for Windows web site to download the version 1.5 of the SDK and Runtime.