Kinect for Windows – What’s new, a view from a Kinect for Windows MVP


The next in our v2 theme week comes from our new minted Kinect for Windows MVP, Tom Kerkhove.

Second Gen. Kinect for Windows – What’s new?

It has been a while since the alpha version of the second generation of Kinect for Windows has been released. At first I was not going to post any 101 post because there are already a lot of them out there but why not. In this post I will give a theoretical overview of what is included in the november version of the new SDK.

Everything in this post is based on alpha hardware & alpha SDK, this is still a work in progress.


“This is preliminary software and/or hardware and APIs are preliminary and subject to change”.

I. Hardware

The hardware is improved in several ways, f.e. the new IR technology – The sensor now uses the Time-of-Flight technology to calculate the distance between the sensor and objects for each pixel of the image by measuring the time a light signal travels to an object and back to the sensor.

Tilt motor is no more...


II. Features

The focus of the first alpha SDK is on the core elements – Color, depth, IR & body.
Unfortunately nothing else has been implemented yet and no news concerning audio, face tracking, fusion & interaction is available yet.

For the sake of interaction you can build your own controls but this requires some effort if you’re new to Kinect.

Depth & IR ...


Body, the new skeletal tracking

Skeletal tracking has been renamed to “Body” and is now capable of tracking 6 persons completely with a total of 25 joints.

The biggest improvement is that each hand now has a seperate joint for the thumb and one for the other four fingers


  • Hand tracking - Each hand of a body now has an indication of what state it is in, f.e. Open, Closed, Lasso where lasso is pointing with two fingers
  • Activities - Indication what the facial emotion of the user is, f.e. eye left closed, mouth open, etc. (More might be added later)
  • Leaning - Indication if the user is leaning to the left or right
  • Appearance - Tells more about the user if he/she is wearing glasses (More might be added later)
  • Expressions - Expression of the current person, f.e. happy or neutral (More might be added later)
  • Engaged - Indication if the user is looking at the sensor or not
III. Other


Supported systems

Here is a small overview of the supported systems for the alpha SDK in a VM or native machine.

  • Windows Embedded or Windows 8+ are required for the SDK. It is still not possible to create Windows Store apps for the same reason as in v1 – You can stream the data from the desktop mode to your app but your app won’t pass certification because of this streaming.
  • Windows 7 is not officially supported at the moment because Win8+ has improved USB 3.0 support
  • Micro framework is not supported due to too few processing power
Multiple sensor applications

Since the developer program is still in progress nobody tried to combine multiple sensors but my guess is that it will support 4 sensors on one machine like v1.

V. Conclusion

The first version looks like a big step ahead concerning the specs but some functionality is still unclear but time will tell.

In my next post I will tell you how you can create your first Kinect v2 application that will demonstrate all the core datastreams.

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