Microsoft Open Tech Releases Open-Source Kinect Project

Microsoft Open Technologies announced the release of the Kinect Common Bridge, which enables developers to integrate Kinect scenarios into apps.

Microsoft Open Technologies announced its release of an open-source project called Kinect Common Bridge for Kinect for Windows.

This project enables developers to easily integrate Kinect scenarios and experiences into applications. For instance, a developer could build an app that allows users to control a 3D model animation with your body, Minority Report style, Olivier Bloch, a technical evangelist for MS Open Tech, wrote in a blog post about the project.

Bloch said at the Visual Studio Evolution 2013 event in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Oct. 14 Ben Lower from Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows team demonstrated the Kinect Common Bridge. MS Open Tech has worked closely with open-source communities such as openFrameworks (OF) and Cinder and the Kinect for Windows team to integrate the new Kinect Common Bridge in popular creative development libraries and toolkits.

OF and Cinder are broadly used by developers creating advanced graphic applications with 3D animations and deep dive interaction. With Kinect integration, developers can create apps that enable interacting with 3D models using voice and hand or body gestures, Bloch said.

The Kinect for Windows SDK already allows developers to use the Kinect sensor in a C++, C# or Visual Basic application with advanced control on the Kinect data. However, in the recent release of their 1.8 SDK, Kinect for Windows further expanded access to Kinect by introducing an HTML5/JavaScript app model that allows Web developers to use Kinect in their Web applications, Bloch said.

“The Kinect Common Bridge sits on top of the Kinect for Window SDK providing useful and powerful abstractions allowing developers to focus on creativity and building great apps,” he said.

Indeed, the Kinect Common Bridge has been designed for and with creative developers working closely with communities like Cinder and openFrameworks.

Stephen Schieberl, a Cinder contributor, agrees.

“The Kinect Common Bridge is brilliantly designed for creative coders of all levels,” Schieberl said in a statement. “The people at MS Open Tech have made integrating the device into Cinder easier, faster, and more stable than any other library out there. The interface to basic tasks is dead simple. Access to the lower level API is uninhibited, allowing the implementation of more esoteric features. This new approach from MS Open Tech means less time managing a wrapper library and more time making cool things.”

In a blog post, Stephen describes how to use the new Kinect Common Bridge block in Cinder and how he and the creative technology team at Wieden+Kennedy have developed and are already using it.

"The Kinect Common Bridge provides for the Kinect what best facilitates creative coding: a way to start exploring and experimenting in a few lines of intuitive code,” said Joshua Noble, an openFrameworks contributor, in a statement. “It simplifies accessing this powerful device and library but also leaves the door open to further exploration of the Kinect SDK and all the functionality it provides for interaction, visualization, and creativity. Any creative coding library can leverage the Kinect Common Bridge with a few simple translation methods, which means that everyone gets a powerful tool to use. It's remarkable that MS Open Tech is taking the time and energy to invest in fostering a relationship with creative code and coders in the best way possible: saying it with code."

Joshua and artist James George have created an openFrameworks add-on on GitHub for the Kinect Common Bridge that includes documentation and examples that will teach you how to use this new library with the openFrameworks creative coding environment, Bloch said.