Microsoft released a new software development kit for its Kinect for Windows sensor today, expanding the capabilities of the platform for software developers building new Kinect apps for Windows PCs.

Version 1.5 of the SDK has been making headlines today for adding detailed facial tracking, including the ability to follow the position of the head, movement of eyebrows, and shape of the mouth.

But the update also adds support for tracking users when they’re seated, not just when they’re standing. That’s interesting because it’s another example of Microsoft differentiating Kinect for Windows from its Xbox 360 counterpart, enabling different types of uses beyond games in the living room.

The Kinect for Windows blog offers these details on the new feature …

Seated Skeletal Tracking is now available. This tracks a 10-joint head/shoulders/arms skeleton, ignoring the leg and hip joints. It is not restricted to seated positions; it also tracks head/shoulders/arms when a person is standing. This makes it possible to create applications that are optimized for seated scenarios (such as office work with productivity software or interacting with 3D data) or standing scenarios in which the lower body isn’t visible to the sensor (such as interacting with a kiosk or when navigating through MRI data in an operating room).

That’s one of several new features being rolled out through the SDK. Microsoft is also expanding Kinect for Windows to more parts of the world.

Like the version of Kinect for Xbox 360, the sensor for Windows lets developers create applications for interacting with a computer through gestures and voice commands.  Microsoft is working with a variety of developers to bring Kinect for Windows applications to market.

We saw a few of the projects in the works last week on our tour of the company’s Kinect Accelerator program for startups in Seattle.

More details on the SDK in this video from Microsoft’s Channel 9 developer site.

Image Credit: Microsoft

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  • adellos

    “and shape of the mouth.”

    Am I the only one who thought HAL when he read that??

  • Guest

    Windows? Isn’t that what people used to use pre iPad?

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