Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting Started with Kinect for Windows


This is one of the first articles of a series I’m planning to share my experience, tips and solutions when developing applications, games and interaction behaviours using the new Kinect for Windows, which was released by Microsoft last month.

A couple of noticeable improvements that caught my attention are the Near Mode and the Audio Device out-of-the-box capabilities.

Near Mode

The Near Mode allows the sensor to detect closer objects and get a lot more data on close interactions than with its previous version. You get closer depth detection and you can be at 1.3 feet from the camera, and still get data.

Audio Device

Once the Kinect is installed, it will appear on the device manager as an extra audio device, that can be managed as a normal audio device and even be used as a recording device.


Getting Started

As usual, to get started quickly, you will need to follow the following steps:

  1. Download the tools
  2. Get your hardware
  3. Install the SDK and required tools
  4. Get started with some basic samples

This post is intended to give you a quick reference on how to get started with Kinect for Windows development quickly. You will definitely need to get the hardware to develop applications since the depth tracking and gesture recognition capabilities can’t be emulated easily without the Kinect sensor.

The new hardware can be acquired in Amazon for about $250. The new version is more expensive than the previous one, but it now includes a commercial license, meaning that if you develop using the new SDK and hardware, you will be able to sell your applications !

To get started, do the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Download the Kinect SDK
  3. Order Kinect Hardware

Once your order is in place and the hardware on its way, you need to install the SDK you just downloaded. The SDK Installs the following:

  • Microsoft Kinect SDK v1.0
  • Microsoft Kinect Speech Recognition Language Pack (en-US)
  • Microsoft Kinect runtime v1.0
  • Microsoft Kinect Drivers v1.0

Just double click on the file named “(KinectSDK-v1.0-Setup.exe)” and follow the wizard.

Install Process

To begin the install process, execute the SDK install wizard by double clicking the KinectSDK-v1.0-Setup.exe. This will launch the Kinect SDK installer.



The wizard will ask you to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x86 Redistributable.




The wizard will also ask you to install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x64 Redistributable version targeting x64 systems.




Once the Visual C++ redistributable packages are installed, the Kinect SDK installer will continue to install the remaining components of the SDK, including the language pack for the speech recognition capabilities and the drivers.



And that’s it. You have all the tools, runtime and software you need to start developing your Kinect for Windows applications. Hopefully you have the hardware ready and you are eager to start testing and ramping up with sample projects where you can learn the basics. A few posts to come soon to get our hands into the code.

Stay tuned !

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