Kinect Minilogs: Building a Kinect 4 Windows 8 App part 1

Greetings all,

It has been a while since I wrote about the Kinect for Windows (K4W). The reason is because I’ve been busy learning all about the Kinect, and thanks to the Kinect for windows team at Microsoft, I’ve also been learning about the upcoming changes and additions to the K4W toolkit, SDK, and device.

Let me say this without saying much… It’s an exciting time to be a device developer, especially a Kinect Device developer.

With the recent rumor about the Kinect 2.0 device, and soon to be released Kinect Fusion
(1), developing applications for the Kinect Device and K4W couldn’t be more fun and entertaining!

While I can’t specifically speak about any other upcoming changes and additions let me just say again… It’s an exciting time to be a device developer, especially a Kinect for Windows device developer.

As some of you already know, Microsoft recently release it’s flagship OS and products line: Windows 8, Windows 8 Surface RT and Windows 8 Surface Pro devices. This OS and these devices once again are making a splash into IT industry. I won’t argue the goods and bads, being you all know I’m a Linux Gentoo Geek since 2009. I will say that both the OS and line of devices have changed the way developers develop and design applications. Simply put, it is another game changer, much like the Apple IPods, IPhones, and IPads, not as major, but still a changer none the less. It is not as much a game changer like the Xbox Kinect device but again a changer none the less.

Understanding the development changes, and design changes of Windows 8 and its devices will require a learning curve which I too am not excused of its effects. Thus the purpose of this posting is to talk about my experiences when developing an application for the Kinect 4 Windows device on a Windows 8 OS and its many devices.

First off right out of the box, there are many things to think about when designing and developing a K4W application for Windows 8. There are too many things to discuss in this one post alone, however I will briefly bring them up in a bullet points. As I develop applications, I will go back through these bullets and most likely talk about my experiences with them in many posts during the year.

Design Challenges:

  • Windows 8 devices are Touch Devices
  • K4W is a Touchless Device
  • Windows 8 has areas outside of the pixel for user interactions
    • Such as Swiping from Top to bottom
    • Swiping from Left to right
    • Swiping from Right to left
  • K4W has no pixel representations of “Area”, it’s area is the whole space surrounding the user (within the device limits of course)

Development Challenges:

  • Windows 8 RT devices can only install applications from a Windows Store
    • Currently no driver exists for K4W device and its many sensors
    • There are currently no Windows Store applications which contain the K4W device and drivers
    • There are currently no Windows Store applications that are compatible with K4W
  • Windows 8 Pro devices do support the K4W device and drivers however depending on the GPU of the Pro device, it may not be powerful enough to support Kinect Fusion
  • Windows 8 requires the WinRT libraries for development
    • VS.Net 2012 is the only development tool for WinRT which by default doesn’t support K4W
  • K4W can be developed with C#, VB.Net, C++, DirectX, and XNA
    • No library exists right now to work with WinRT

These challenges are just a few as more will probably be added to this post as I develop my Kinect for Windows 8 application.

In part 2 of this post, I will talk about the steps I have used thus far to get the bare minimal framework working for K4W based applications.


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