Microsoft offers Kinect code samples under open source

The software giant, hoping to get more developers writing PC applications to use its motion-sensing controller, is offering some pieces of code under an Apache 2.0 license.

Jay Greene
Jay Greene Former Staff Writer
Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).
Kinect for Windows sensor Microsoft

Microsoft is continuing a push to turn its Kinect motion-sensing game controller into a natural user-interface device for PCs, by sharing samples of the Kinect for Windows code under an open source license.

The idea is to give developers the opportunity to reuse the code and help Microsoft figure out how to improve it, Ben Lower, Kinect for Windows developer community manager, wrote in a blog post last week.

The company has posted 22 samples -- including code for face tracking, its skeletal viewer, and slideshow gestures -- in C#, C++, and Visual Basic. The code is available under an Apache 2.0 open source license.

In addition, Microsoft has launched a blog for the Kinect for Windows developer community to build support for programmers interested in creating applications that use motion sensing and voice for PC.

In 2011, Microsoft released a software development kit for Kinect for Windows, the first step in encouraging developers to come up with new applications. A year ago, it launched a version of the controller that works with PCs, a device intended to give developers a tool to create commercial programs that use the Kinect.

Companies such as United Health Group, American Express, Mattel, Telefonica, and Toyota have created computer programs that allow users to use gestures or their voices to interact with the software.