Third party beats Microsoft to the punch, releases free SDK for Kinect

Microsoft's Craig Mundie and Don Mattrick recently announced that the company would be releasing a non-commercial SDK for its Kinect 3D motion controller sometime this spring. Today, just seven days later, Belgian 3D interface company SoftKinetic has launched its free SDK for all depth-sensing cameras, including Microsoft's Kinect.

"We want to expand the community of developers able to access to our professional tools and technology," said Eric Krzeslo, Chief Strategy Officer of SoftKinetic. "We believe that opening up our cross-platform, multi-camera software to a broader community will enhance productivity and creativity, and we cannot wait to see the incredible innovations that emerge as a result."

We first took a look at SoftKinetic's Natural User Interface (NUI) technology back in December when the company began accepting its first participants in its content partner program; and then at CES 2011, we got to see what SoftKinetic's iisu platform was capable of. Today, interested developers can get their hands on the iisu v.2.8 SDK for free, non-commercial use.

SoftKinetic has been working on 3D gesture technology for eight years, and this version of iisu includes support for all 3D cameras (structured light, time of flight, stereoscopic,) and is compatible with Adobe Flash, Unity 3D, and 3DVIA Virtools development environments.

The iisu SDK can be downloaded at beginning today, and it comes with an Interaction Designer that lets developers prototype and develop gestures for their applications, and an "Action Pack" of pre-made gestures that can be immediately employed in apps and games.

While real-space, post-WIMP interfaces are still very new, and their market is still developing, Microsoft is a major advocate of the technology.

"Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us," Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie said last week.

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