Microsoft has released the first version of Kinect for robots, as a part of a new initiative designed to bridge the Xbox 360 NUI sensor with robotics projects.Kinect Services for Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 is now available as a free download from Microsoft Research.
It’s no coincidence that Kinect Services for RDS comes after the Kinect for Windows software development kit. According to Stathis Papaefstathiou, General Manager, Microsoft Robotics, Kinect Services for RDS was in fact created with the Kinect for Windows SDK at the core.
“We have wrapped in the core Kinect SDK capabilities so you can use them with the CCR/DSS programming model,” he stated.
Kinect Services for RDS 2008 R3, the actual Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3 as well as the Kinect for Windows SDK are all offered as free downloads.
“Kinect Services for RDS provides sample services that use the Kinect for Windows SDK to allow access to the Depth and RGB data from a Kinect sensor. In addition to a service for a real Kinect, there is also a service for a simulated Kinect that works with the RDS simulator,” the company said.
“A sample application is included that shows how to use a Kinect on a simulated robot to wander around and avoid obstacles. Note that both Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 are required to compile the Kinect services. This release is for RDS 2008 R3 only.”
Obviously, natural user interfaces, including NUI products such as Kinect, but also the entire robotics industry, are just in embryonic stage at this point in time.
As far as Kinect Services for RDS is concerned, the promise from Microsoft is that the offering will move to the next stage of its evolution in the fall of 2011.
“This is only the beginning. Keep your eyes peeled for updates in the fall. We know that there are many practical issues for applying the Kinect technologies to robotics capabilities that we will be addressing in upcoming RDS releases,” Papaefstathiou said.