Archives du mot-clé infrared

The New Generation Kinect for Windows Sensor is Coming Next Year

The all-new active-infrared capabilities allow the new sensor to work in nearly any lighting condition. This makes it possible for developers to build apps with enhanced recognition of facial features, hand position, and more.By now, most of you likely have heard about the new Kinect sensor that Microsoft will deliver as part of Xbox One later this year. 

Today, I am pleased to announce that Microsoft will also deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year. We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers. A new Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK) are core to that commitment.

Both the new Kinect sensor and the new Kinect for Windows sensor are being built on a shared set of technologies. Just as the new Kinect sensor will bring opportunities for revolutionizing gaming and entertainment, the new Kinect for Windows sensor will revolutionize computing experiences. The precision and intuitive responsiveness that the new platform provides will accelerate the development of voice and gesture experiences on computers.

Some of the key capabilities of the new Kinect sensor include:

  • Higher fidelity
    The new sensor includes a high-definition (HD) color camera as well as a new noise-isolating multi-microphone array that filters ambient sounds to recognize natural speaking voices even in crowded rooms. Also included is Microsoft’s proprietary Time-of-Flight technology, which measures the time it takes individual photons to rebound off an object or person to create unprecedented accuracy and precision. All of this means that the new sensor recognizes precise motions and details, such as slight wrist rotation, body position, and even the wrinkles in your clothes. The Kinect for Windows community will benefit from the sensor’s enhanced fidelity, which will allow developers to create highly accurate solutions that see a person’s form better than ever, track objects and environments with greater detail, and understand voice commands in noisier settings than before.

The enhanced fidelity and depth perception of the new Kinect sensor will allow developers to create apps that see a person's form better, track objects with greater detail, and understand voice commands in noisier settings.
The enhanced fidelity and depth perception of the new Kinect sensor will allow developers to
create apps that see a person's form better, track objects with greater detail, and understand
voice commands in noisier settings.

  • Expanded field of view
    The expanded field of view accommodates a multitude of differently sized rooms, minimizing the need to modify existing room configurations and opening up new solution-development opportunities. The combination of the new sensor’s higher fidelity plus expanded field of view will give businesses the tools they need to create truly untethered, natural computing experiences such as clicker-free presentation scenarios, more dynamic simulation and training solutions, up-close interactions, more fluid gesture recognition for quick interactions on the go, and much more.
        
  • Improved skeletal tracking
    The new sensor tracks more points on the human body than previously, including the tip of the hand and thumb, and tracks six skeletons at once. This not only yields more accurate skeletal tracking, it opens up a range of new scenarios, including improved “avateering,” the ability to develop enhanced rehabilitation and physical fitness solutions, and the possibility to create new experiences in public spaces—such as retail—where multiple users can participate simultaneously.

The new sensor tracks more points on the human body than previously and tracks six skeletons at once, opening a range of new scenarios, from improved "avateering" to experiences in which multiple users can participate simultaneously.
The new sensor tracks more points on the human body than previously, including the tip of the hand
and thumb, and tracks six skeletons at once. This opens up a range of new scenarios, from improved
« avateering » to experiences in which multiple users can participate simultaneously.
  

  • New active infrared (IR)
    The all-new active-IR capabilities allow the new sensor to work in nearly any lighting condition and, in essence, give businesses access to a new fourth sensor: audio, depth, color…and now active IR. This will offer developers better built-in recognition capabilities in different real-world settings—independent of the lighting conditions—including the sensor’s ability to recognize facial features, hand position, and more. 

I’m sure many of you want to know more. Stay tuned; at BUILD 2013 in June, we’ll share details about how developers and designers can begin to prepare to adopt these new technologies so that their apps and experiences are ready for general availability next year.

A new Kinect for Windows era is coming: an era of unprecedented responsiveness and precision.

Bob Heddle
Director, Kinect for Windows

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Photos in this blog by STEPHEN BRASHEAR/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images

 

Inside the Newest Kinect for Windows SDK – Infrared Control

Inside the Newest Kinect for Windows SDK—Infrared ControlThe Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) October release was a pivotal update with a number of key improvements. One important update in this release is how control of infrared (IR) sensing capabilities has been enhanced to create a world of new possibilities for developers.

IR sensing is a core feature of the Kinect sensor, but until this newest release, developers were somewhat restrained in how they could use it. The front of the Kinect for Windows sensor has three openings, each housing a core piece of technology. On the left, there is an IR emitter, which transmits a factory calibrated pattern of dots across the room in which the sensor resides. The middle opening is a color camera. The third is the IR camera, which reads the dot pattern and can help the Kinect for Windows system software sense objects and people along with their skeletal tracking data.

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Inside the Kinect for Windows SDK Update with Peter Zatloukal and Bob Heddle

Now that the updated Kinect for Windows SDK  is available for download, Engineering Manager Peter Zatloukal and Group Program Manager Bob Heddle sat down to discuss what this significant update means to developers.

Bob Heddle demonstrates the new infrared functionality in the Kinect for Windows SDK 
Bob Heddle demonstrates the new infrared functionality in the Kinect for Windows SDK.

Why should developers care about this update to the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK)?

Bob: Because they can do more stuff and then deploy that stuff on multiple operating systems!

Peter: In general, developers will like the Kinect for Windows SDK because it gives them what I believe is the best tool out there for building applications with gesture and voice.

In the SDK update, you can do more things than you could before, there’s more documentation, plus there’s a specific sample called Basic Interactions that’s a follow-on to our Human Interface Guidelines (HIG). Human Interface Guidelines are a big investment of ours, and will continue to be. First we gave businesses and developers the HIG in May, and now we have this first sample, demonstrating an implementation of the HIG. With it, the Physical Interaction Zone (PhIZ) is exposed. The PhIZ is a component that maps a motion range to the screen size, allowing users to comfortably control the cursor on the screen.

This sample is a bit hidden in the toolkit browser, but everyone should check it out. It embodies best practices that we described in the HIG and is can be re-purposed by developers easily and quickly.

Bob: First we had the HIG, now we have this first sample. And it’s only going to get better. There will be more to come in the future.

Why upgrade?

Bob: There’s no downside to upgrading, so everyone should do it today! There are no breaking changes; it’s fully compatible with previous releases of the SDK, it gives you better operating support reach, there are a lot of new features, and it supports distribution in more countries with localized setup and license agreements. And, of course, China is now part of the equation.

Peter: There are four basic reasons to use the Kinect for Windows SDK and to upgrade to the most recent version:

  • More sensor data are exposed in this release.
  • It’s easier to use than ever (more samples, more documentation).
  • There’s more operating system and tool support (including Windows 8, virtual machine support, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, and Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5).
  • It supports distribution in more geographical locations. 

What are your top three favorite features in the latest release of the SDK and why?

Peter: If I must limit myself to three, then I’d say the HIG sample (Basic Interactions) is probably my favorite new thing. Secondly, there’s so much more documentation for developers. And last but not least…infrared! I’ve been dying for infrared since the beginning. What do you expect? I’m a developer. Now I can see in the dark!

Bob: My three would be extended-range depth data, color camera settings, and Windows 8 support. Why wouldn’t you want to have the ability to develop for Windows 8? And by giving access to the depth data, we’re giving developers the ability to see beyond 4 meters. Sure, the data out at that range isn’t always pretty, but we’ve taken the guardrails off—we’re letting you go off-roading. Go for it!

New extended-range depth data now provides details beyond 4 meters. These images show the difference between depth data gathered from previous SDKs (left) versus the updated SDK (right). 
New extended-range depth data now provides details beyond 4 meters. These images show the difference between depth data gathered from previous SDKs (left) versus the updated SDK (right).

Peter: Oh yeah, and regarding camera settings, in case it isn’t obvious: this is for those people who want to tune their apps specifically to known environments.

What’s it like working together?

Peter: Bob is one of the most technically capable program managers (PMs) I have had the privilege of working with.

Bob: We have worked together for so long—over a decade and in three different companies—so there is a natural trust in each other and our abilities. When you are lucky to have that, you don’t have to spend energy and time figuring out how to work together. Instead, you can focus on getting things done. This leaves us more time to really think about the customer rather than the division of labor.

Peter: My team is organized by the areas of technical affinity. I have developers focused on:

  • SDK runtime
  • Computer vision/machine learning
  • Drivers and low-level subsystems
  • Audio
  • Samples and tools

Bob: We have a unique approach to the way we organize our teams: I take a very scenario-driven approach, while Peter takes a technically focused approach. My team is organized into PMs who look holistically across what end users need, versus what commercial customers need, versus what developers need.

Peter: We organize this way intentionally and we believe it’s a best practice that allows us to iterate quickly and successfully!

What was the process you and your teams went through to determine what this SDK release would include, and who is this SDK for?

Bob: This SDK is for every Kinect for Windows developer and anyone who wants to develop with voice and gesture. Seriously, if you’re already using a previous version, there is really no reason not to upgrade. You might have noticed that we gave developers a first version of the SDK in February, then a significant update in May, and now this release. We have designed Kinect for Windows around rapid updates to the SDK; as we roll out new functionality, we test our backwards compatibility very thoroughly, and we ensure no breaking changes.

We are wholeheartedly dedicated to Kinect for Windows. And we’re invested in continuing to release updated iterations of the SDK rapidly for our business and developer customers. I hope the community recognizes that we’re making the SDK easier and easier to use over time and are really listening to their feedback.

Peter Zatloukal, Engineering Manager
Bob Heddle, Group Program Manager
Kinect for Windows

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