Kinect now supports Windows 8, Virtual Machines, and China

Microsoft has rolled out a major update to the Kinect motion control runtime and SDK for Windows machines on Monday, unlocking new data tools for developers and allowing Kinect to perform in lower light and at longer ranges.

Perhaps the biggest part of the SDK update on Monday is its vastly broadened availability. The Kinect SDK now features Windows 8 compatibility, which gives developers the ability to make apps for the soon-to-be-released next version of Windows. It also features compatibility with Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare and Parallels, letting Kinect control virtual machines as well. Finally, the Kinect for Windows SDK is now available in the largest market in the world, China.

The update to the software development kit gives C++, C# and Visual Basic applications access to Kinect's infrared stream, its accelerometer data, and endows them with the ability to read data beyond four meters away from the sensor, and also to map coordinates based upon individual pixels or upon an entire image frame. A single application can also drive skeletal tracking with multiple, overlapping 3D sensors. Also, a new raw Bayer color image format lets applications run Bayer-to-RGB conversions on the machine's CPU or GPU. This is the way camera sensors turn their "visual" data into color images, so with this update, developers can conceivably speed up the reproduction of what the Kinect sensor sees. Kinect Studio has been updated to version 1.6.0 to support these new features and more.

"Access to all this data means new experiences are possible: Whole new scenarios open up, such as monitoring manufacturing processes with extended-range depth data. Building solutions that work in low-light settings becomes a reality with IR stream exposure, such as in theaters and light-controlled museums," the Kinect team blog on Monday said.

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