Start Coding for the Kinect

by Alan Berman

I'm intrigued by all the interesting industry apps being developed for the Kinect.  I started wondering how easy it is to start programming the Kinect using Visual Studio on a PC.  It is very easy to get started, especially since the Kinect SDK has sample applications with sample code.

Because I had bought a Kinect bundled with my Xbox and not a standalone Kinect, I needed to buy a Kinect Sensor Power Supply, which can be purchased online.  This product has a cable with a USB connector that can be plugged into a PC.

I downloaded the Kinect SDK from the Kinect for Windows download site.  After installation of the Kinect SDK, this appears in Start / All Programs.

When you choose "Kinect SDK Sample Browser", the following Sample Browser window appears.  You can run the samples and download the associated C# projects from the window.

Here's what the Kinect Explorer looks like.

In the above window, the image at the left demonstrates skeletal tracking. The same image also shows Norm Estabrook as seen from the RGB camera.  For the image at the right, depth camera data with the distance from the Kinect is translated into an image with different colors.

You can change settings by clicking the arrow at the lower left.

Here's what the Shape Game looks like.  Norm is trying to change the direction of shapes falling from the sky.  The app also supports vocal commands.

The Kinect Audio Demo looks like this.  It shows the direction of the sound source and recognizes spoken colors.

The Kinect SDK includes the C# code for these sample apps, which will help you start coding.

Another important resource is the phenomenal Getting Started videos at the Kinect for Windows Quickstart Series.  Happy coding!