In 2010, when Microsoft released the Kinect, I was mildly intrigued. I could see some potential, but the example uses were little more than new ways to play Pong. Then Microsoft did something out of character for them, they released an SDK for Kinect that made it possible for anyone to develop an application for the device. Since then, developers have come up with hundreds of innovative uses for the Kinect interface, and the potential for additional iterations is there for all to see.

Again, somewhat out of character, Microsoft has embraced these inventive uses of the Kinect and has recently announced a new beta version of the Kinect for Windows SDK, which includes APIs, sample code, and drivers. You can download the beta Kinect SDK from Microsoft directly.

If you are interested in seeing what some people have been able to do with the Kinect SDK, check out the Xbox website:

The Kinect Effect: How the World Is Using Kinect

and a couple of videos — this is some truly amazing stuff — and you can start to see how this technology will change many of the ways we interact with machines in the not-too-distant future. All that is required is some refinement of the prototypes.

In the works

There must be more than a few TechRepublic members dabbling, at the very least, in the Kinect technology. What are you working on? What is the most exciting application you have seen using the Kinect? What is the most practical application? Where do you see this Kinect-type of interface leading us in the future?