Slowly and steadily – the Kinect SDK is adding awesome new features. The latest release v 1.5 has seated mode skeletal tracking, improved skeletal tracking and the Kinect Studio (for easier record/playback). This release comes at a great time, even as LeapMotion is opening up another market in gesture technology. Just like Kinect did almost two years back, Leap Motion is changing the way people think about interfaces. I think both Kinect and Leap Motion target different markets, but if Microsoft is looking at using Kinect for precision hand tracking, Leap Motion is showing the way.
While Leap Motion is a few months away, Kinect SDK is getting great developer support. Carl Franklin has developed a Gesture recording and recognition toolkit – GesturePak (compatible with Kinect SDK V 1.5) – app that records you making your gestures and an SDK for .NET 4.0 that notifies your code when the user has made those gestures. This seems very useful as well.
Read the complete release by Criag Eisler - Kinect for Windows: SDK and Runtime version 1.5 Released
Seated mode skeletal tracking
Provides the ability to track users’ upper body (10-joint) and overlook the lower body if not visible or relevant to application. In addition, enables the identification of user when sitting on a chair, couch or other inanimate object.
Improved skeletal tracking
In near range, users who are seated or standing can be tracked within 40 cm (16 inches) of sensor. Plus, the skeletal tracking engine is now faster, making better use of the CPU and scaling of computer resources. In addition, newly added joint orientation information for skeletons is ideal for avatar animation scenarios and simple pose detection.
Face tracking capabilities
Makes it possible to fit a 3D mesh to users’ faces and track their facial features and head position in real time using components from the Developer Toolkit.
Provides components, libraries, tools, samples, Kinect Studio, and other resources to make it easier to develop applications using the Kinect for Windows SDK
Simplifies the review and testing of applications, using Kinect Studio to record, playback, and debug Kinect data.
Speech recognition options
Along with English, offers French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese speech recognition along with language packs to recognize the way a language is spoken in different regions: English/Great Britain, English/Ireland, English/Australia, English/New Zealand, English/Canada, French/France, French/Canada, Italian/Italy, Japanese/Japan, Spanish/Spain and Spanish/Mexico
Download the latest version from - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/develop/developer-downloads.aspx