Without Microsoft's help, legions of hackers have used the Kinect to bring drawings to life, create mimicking robots, perform surgery, and play music. Over the weekend, Microsoft announced its intention to bring a starter kit for development--basically, a box of tools so developers can legitimately take advantage of the Kinect's potential--to those same enterprising folks, which can only mean we're in for ever more evolved uses for our favorite futuristic gaming accessory.
The kit, which Microsoft is calling a "starter kit" for developers, will be released fairly soon ("later this spring") in a non-commercial form, aimed mostly at research and enthusiast groups. From the development perspective, this is great: Previous Kinect hacks were, well, hacks, with the limitations that sort of thing entails. With a proper software development kit from Microsoft, developers will be able to forgo the hacking process and have full access to the Kinect, including its audio drivers, sensors, and system APIs, which will likely result in more polished and innovative creations--possibly even some that would be freely available to regular Kinect owners like John Q. AwkwardDancer.
Microsoft also notes that a commercial version of the SDK will be available at some point, though there were no further details given on that. What's interesting about a commercial SDK is that it opens the door for something like a Kinect app store, which would be pretty amazing, especially if and when Microsoft makes the Kinect play nicely with Windows, as the company has hinted in the past.
Wow, I'm surprised to see MS willing to do this, as they're known for keeping everything proprietary. In a way it makes sense, mostly because they'll be able to steal everyone's ideas on the free market, change one little aspect of the code, then call it their own for $49.95. Cheers.
I believe you are getting Microsoft confused with Apple on the proprietary front
justin's right in this case, apple is more on the nazi control freak side when it comes to proprietary-ism. it's really because every product they put out is simply a name so they need to control and micromanage to make sure that "name" isn't tarnished. Microsoft gets stuff done most of the time, they're proprietary systems are so wide spread that they don't need to care, the most they have is a simple product key system that's been cracked since each system came out.
from a business stand-point Microsoft has everything to gain from this, their proprietary software for the device only works for the xbox 360, which by itself has an absurd amount of countermeasures for hackers. instead of making a proprietary software they just make the bank selling the hardware.
After I played with a Kinect for the first time I got excited over the potential it had for interaction. Instead of pushing buttons to swing a sword or cast a spell, you could actually mime the action and have it carried out on screen.
Afterwards I looked for exactly this from Microsoft and did not find it 3 months ago. After thinking about why they wouldn't release something like this I reasoned that it would probably be a bad idea to give users access to a motorized, depth-perceptive, swivel-mounted camera in other peoples homes. Give this to someone/something like Google and you'll have Google Houseview complete with a 3D rendering of Uncle Jim in the living room in his boxers... or less.
And if anyone has browsed the internet for half an hour you know someone out there is going to create and circulate Kama Sutra Kinect complete with multiplayer capabilities.
If you can't tell I don't care to have cameras attached to my computers no matter how secure my system may be.
M$ has actually gotten much more friendly towards open-source and "3rd party" developers.
I think the idea to release an SDK for the Kinect is another step in the right direction for them!