[Special Edition] Kinect for Windows SDK v1.5 now available


Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5 - Face Tracking, Seated Skeletal Tracking, Kinect Studio, & More

Rob Relyea, a Principal Program Manager on the Kinect for Windows team joins us again on Channel 9 to discuss all of the new features with the 1.5 release of the Kinect for Windows SDK.

Kinect for Windows Blog - Kinect for Windows Runtime and SDK Version 1.5 Released

I am pleased to announce that today we have released version 1.5 of the Kinect for Windows runtime and SDK. Additionally, Kinect for Windows hardware is now available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan. Starting next month, Kinect for Windows hardware will be available in 15 additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. When this wave of expansion is complete, Kinect for Windows will be available in 31 countries around the world. Go to our Kinect for Windows website to find a reseller in your region.

We have added more capabilities to help developers build amazing applications, including:

  • Kinect Studio, our new tool which allows developers to record and play back Kinect data, dramatically shortening and simplifying the development lifecycle of a Kinect application. Now a developer writing a Kinect for Windows application can record clips of users in the application’s target environment and then replay those clips at a later time for testing and further development.
  • A set of Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) to guide developers on best practices for the creation of Natural User Interfaces using Kinect.
  • The Face Tracking SDK, which provides a real-time 3D mesh of facial features—tracking the head position, location of eyebrows, shape of the mouth, etc.
  • Significant sample code additions and improvements. There are many new samples in both C++ and C#, plus a “Basics” series of samples with language coverage in C++, C#, and Visual Basic.
  • SDK documentation improvements, including new resources as well as migration of documentation to MSDN for easier discoverability and real-time updates.

We have continued to expand and improve our skeletal tracking capabilities in this release:

  • Seated Skeletal Tracking is now available....
  • Skeletal Tracking is supported in Near Mode, including both Default and Seated tracking modes. ...

We have made performance and data quality enhancements, which improve the experience of all Kinect for Windows applications using the RGB camera or needing RGB and depth data to be mapped together (“green screen” applications are a common example):

  • Performance for the mapping of a depth frame to a color frame has been significantly improved, with an average speed increase of 5x.
  • Depth and color frames will now be kept in sync with each other. The Kinect for Windows runtime continuously monitors the depth and color streams and corrects any drift.
  • RGB Image quality has been improved in the RGB 640x480 @30fps and YUV 640x480 @15fps video modes. The image quality is now sharper and more color-accurate in high and low lighting conditions.

New capabilities to enable avatar animation scenarios, which makes it easier for developers to build applications that control a 3D avatar, such as Kinect Sports.

  • Kinect for Windows runtime provides Joint Orientation information for the skeletons tracked by the Skeletal Tracking pipeline.
  • The Joint Orientation is provided in two forms: A Hierarchical Rotation based on a bone relationship defined on the Skeletal Tracking joint structure, and an Absolute Orientation in Kinect camera coordinates.


Kinect for Windows SDK Developer Downloads

The Kinect for Windows SDK enables developers to create applications using C++, C# or Visual Basic, which support gesture and voice recognition using the Kinect for Windows sensor and a PC or embedded device.

Step 1: Set-up Kinect for Windows SDK

Includes drivers for using Kinect sensor on a computer running Windows 7, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, and Windows Embedded Standard 7. In addition, the download includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and device interfaces.
Version 1.5, updated 05/21/2012, 221 MB, English.


View Release Notes Generic Episode Image

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Step 2: Set-up Kinect for Windows Developer Toolkit

Contains source code samples, Kinect Studio, Face Tracking SDK, and other resources to simplify developing applications using the Kinect for Windows SDK.
Version 1.5, updated 05/21/2012, 60 MB, English.


View Release Notes Generic Episode Image

The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Kinect Team,

    I am super excited about this new release.  The software upgrades are great and cannot wait for a new hardware upgrade in the next couple years.  Keep up the great work!

  • User profile image

    Excellent jog guys!

    Very excited about the new facial tracking direction you are undertaking.  Looking forward to working with this new SDK and Developer Tools.  Thanks...

  • User profile image

    Just one thing: it's necessary the new HW version for running all new 1.5 SDK version features?

    Thanks, Bye.

  • User profile image

    @D4r10: This is a software update only.

    The existing Kinect hardware works, with the same rules. You can use the Kinect for Xbox 360 for development but that's all and even that's not recommended. The current Kinect for Windows device is the recommended device for the Kinect for Windows SDK v1 or v1.5

  • User profile image


    I downloaded the new SDK and noticed a couple of changes from v 1.0.

    I had built a sample app using WPF C# and following the channel9 getting started videos for Kinect SDK 1.0.

    1) There is not KinectSensorChooser with the WpfViewers. I got around this by using the Kinect.Status_Changed event.

    2) I cannot get the skeleton viewer to work. The Kinect binding which was in V1.0 is not there in V1.5. Could someone help me with this.


  • User profile image

    @gduncan411:I know it was stated that facial tracking was an early release and this is going to be improved upon in SDK 1.5.1

    I also noticed in the video presentation that there were settings for full body motion or half body motion.  Is facial tracking also going to to be added as a setting in Kinect Studio with the upcoming SDK release?


  • User profile image

    @InfoCentral:I don't know... I'll keep my eyes open and if I see more will let you know.

  • User profile image
    Rob Relyea

    @yashdshaw -

    KinectSensorChooser got more investment in v1.5. Look in the DeveloperToolkit Browser under "Components". KinectSensorChooser is now a UI-less (logic only) class that finds Kinect Sensors for you app. KinectSensorChooserUI is a WPF based UI experience that uses KinectSensorChooser.

    SkeletonViewer still exists...we added a KinectManager to the viewers project...that the Viewers current rely on. Would love feedback. Perhaps you could go to http://bit.ly/KinectSDKForums and report how it goes and what questions or feedback you have.

    Thanks, Rob

  • User profile image

    Here is a page that can help with the Face Tracking in Kinect - http://nsmoly.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/face-tracking-sdk-in-kinect-for-windows-1-5/
    it has a code sample and tips on how to use the face tracking engine.

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