Kinect for Xbox 360 was launched in November 2010. In just a short while it has become the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history and sparked the imagination of thousands of creators around the world who see tremendous opportunity to create new experiences with the technology.

Later this spring, Microsoft Research will release a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). It is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Microsoft Windows 7.

With this SDK, youíll be able to take advantage of:

  • The latest advances in audio processing, which include a four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for crystal clear audio.
  • Sound source localization for beamforming, which enables the determination of a soundís spatial location, enhancing reliability when integrated with the Microsoft speech recognition API.
  • Depth data, which provides the distance of an object from the Kinect camera, as well as the raw audio and image data, which together open up opportunities for creating richer natural user interface experiences.
  • Highly performant and robust skeletal tracking capabilities for determining the body positions of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view.
  • Documentation for the APIs and a description of the SDK architecture.
  • Sample code that demonstrates how to use the functionality in the SDK.


This SDK is intended for non-commercial use to enable experimentation in the world of natural user interface experiences, with new state-of-the-art features planned for future releases that will continue to provide new ways to experiment.

Kinect for Windows SDK - Microsoft Research