Microsoft today released the Kinect for Windows SDK. The highly anticipated development kit is just in beta at this moment but it does offer what many have been anticipating (and what others have already accomplished through self-brewed drivers), connecting and using a Kinect with a PC.

Not only is this product still in Beta, but one interesting note is it hasn’t been given a proper department for it to be held under. Instead, Microsoft Research is still sponsoring the SDK while it is in beta (perhaps forever?). You can download the beta bits here. Just be careful though, there are distinct 32-bit and 64-bit variations to this SDK so make sure to grab the right one. The files stand at 20.8MB and 21.8MB in size, respectively.

There are also already a slew of documentation regarding the API/SDK. Head on over to MR’s main documentation site for the Kinect SDK to get more information on that topic. Documentation includes a programming guide, a brief read me, and several code walkthroughs/examples. It’s worth checking out for anyone beginning their first steps in a Kinect/Windows development environment.

System requirements according to Microsoft Research (Note, this is a direct copy/paste from MR’s site, thus includes links to the download/reference pages for the system requirements):

Hardware
  • Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor
  • Computer with a dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
  • Windows 7–compatible graphics card that supports DirectX® 9.0c capabilities
  • 2-GB RAM (4-GB RAM recommended)
Software

The best part is that this is relatively free from a development perspective (only cost for most people will be the Kinect device) as the development tool is the free express edition of Visual Studio 2010 (of course, the normal editions of Visual Studio 2010 will work just as well). As always, have fun and code safely!