Kinect for Windows v2 SDK Updated (Now with Fusion!)


After the first release of the Kinect for Windows v2, one of the more common requests I've seen is for the Kinect Fusion tool kit. The team listened and it's now available. That and much more...

Updated preview SDK now available

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Today, we are releasing an updated version of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 public preview. This new SDK includes more than 200 improvements to the core SDK. Most notably, this release delivers the much sought after Kinect Fusion tool kit, which provides higher resolution camera tracking and performance. The updated SDK also includes substantial improvements in the tooling, specifically around Visual Gesture Builder (VGB) and Kinect Studio, and it offers 10 new samples (such as Discrete Gestures Basics, Face, and HD Face Basics) to get you coding faster. All of this adds up to a substantially more stable, more feature-rich product that lets you to get serious about finalizing your applications for commercial deployment and, later this year, for availability in the Windows Store.

The SDK is free and there will be no fees for runtime licenses of commercial applications developed with the SDK.

If you’ve already downloaded the public preview, please be sure to take advantage of today’s updates. And for developers who haven’t used Kinect for Windows v2 yet, there’s no better time to get started!

The Kinect for Windows Team

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What is the Kinect Fusion? Kean Walmsley has a nice preview of it...

Kinect Fusion for Kinect for Windows 2


Some design decisions with the original KfW device also made scanning harder: the USB cable was shorter than that of Kinect for Xbox 360, weighing in at about 1.6m of attached cable with an additional 45cm between the power unit and the PC. So even with power and USB extension cables, you felt fairly constrained. I suspect the original KfW device was really only intended to work on someone’s desk: it was only when Kinect Fusion came along that the need for a longer cable became evident (and Kinect Fusion only works with Kinect for Windows devices, of course).

Thankfully this has been addressed in KfW v2: the base cable is now 2.9m with an additional 2.2m between the box that integrates power and the USB connection. So there’s really a lot more freedom to move around when scanning.

I have to admit that I wasn’t very optimistic that Kinect Fusion would be “fixed” with KfW v2: apart from anything the increased resolution of the device – both in terms of colour and depth data – just means there’s more processing to do. But somehow it does work better: I suspect that improvements such as making use of a worker thread to integrate frames coming in from the device – as well as using Parallel.For to parallelize big parts of the processing – have helped speed things up. And these are just the change obvious from the sample code: there are probably many more optimisations under-the-hood. Either way the results are impressive: with Kinect Fusion integrated into AutoCAD I can now scan objects much more reliably than I could with KfW v1.



You certainly still have to move the device quite slowly to make sure that tracking is maintained during the scanning process – I still get quirky results when I’m too optimistic when scanning a tricky volume – and I’d recommend scanning larger objects in sections and aggregating them afterwards. But Kinect Fusion works much better than it did, and now much more comparably inside a 3D system than with the standalone 2D samples (as Kinect Fusion also renders images of the volume being scanned for 2D host applications).

I still have some work to do to tidy up the code before posting, but it’s in fairly good shape, overall. I’m also hoping to provide the option to create a mesh – not just a point cloud – as Kinect Fusion does maintain a mesh of the capture volume internally, but we’ll see how feasible that is given the size of these captures (2-3 million points are typical).

There’s so much happening in this space, right now, with exciting mobile scanning solutions such as Project Tango on the horizon as well as seemingly every third project on Kickstarter (I exaggerate, but still). It’s hard to know what the future holds for 3D scanning technologies such as Kinect Fusion that require a desktop-class system with a decent GPU, but it’s certainly interesting to see how things are evolving.

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