Microsoft plans to release the fourth major version of the Kinect for Windows SDK, version 1.8, in September. Probably the most interesting feature will be the ability to strip out the background behind a person and replace it with a background of the developer's choice--Microsoft's version of the Personify "green screen" option. Microsoft will also allow developers to program the Kinect Interactions--gestures that include "gripping" to pan the screen, for example--in HTML, Heddle said.
Microsoft will also leverage the improved Kinect sensor found within the Xbox One to improve KinectFusion, its technology that can "scan" an object in 3D by waving the Kinect sensor around like a magic wand, creating a virtual, computer-generated image of the object in 3D. The older KinectFusion technology scanned only in black and white, while the latest version will apply color textures that the sensor "sees," Heddle said.
There will be limited quantities of the developer kit in November, Heddle said, and signups begin Wednesday. Microsoft hopes to engage with the developers who have the most interesting ideas. "They'll have to describe what they're doing with it. We want people who are really committed to development," Heddle said.
While the Xbox 360's Kinect sensor used technology from PrimeSense, the new version is entirely Microsoft-owned, with knowledge gained from two companies that Microsoft acquired, Canesta and 3DV Systems. "We wanted to own this technology down to the silicon," Heddle said. "We're invested in this area for the long term."
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