Kinect SDK Powers Hobbyist Natural User Interface [Video]

By Wesley Fenlon

A NUI project for Kinect and Windows demonstrates the potential of easy open source development using Microsoft's .NET framework and official SDK.

If there’s one thing that continues to surprise us about the Kinect development community, it’s just how quickly these brilliant programmers come up with new hacks and projects for Microsoft’s 3D depth-sensing camera. Here’s a perfect example: back in December MIT built a Kinect-powered take on the Minority Report gesture interface within a month of the hardware’s release. It took another six months for Microsoft to release an official Windows SDK to make development easier on those of us who aren’t blessed with MIT minds.

Now open source developer Kevin Connolly has built a Minority Report-esque natural user interface for Windows using the Kinect SDK, which should make the project more accessible for interested developers. The best part? Yeah, it took him about a week. Check out Windows, the NUI and Kinect below.

The KinectNUI is obviously an alpha build with its fair shair of issues. It’s not always responsive, offers limited functionality and only recognizes a few gestures right now. But Connolly’s project is already doing something missing from Microsoft's SDK demos by tying Kinect into the Windows user experience. He plans to add a Sims-style pie menu for navigating through applications and files in the future, and we imagine the whole thing will become more responsive to hand gestures as KinectNUI matures.

Hopefully it will mature: the open source project is available for download to anyone interested in Kinect development. The Kinect SDK is available at Microsoft Research.