Kinect for Windows Developers Get Gesture Recognition
NEW LONDON, Conn., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Developers of software for the popular Microsoft Kinect for Windows device now have another reason to jump up and down with a smile on their face. Carl Franklin, who is somewhat of a celebrity in the Windows software development world (see http://dotnetrocks.com), has just released a tool that he says “changes everything.”
Says Franklin: “When Microsoft released the Kinect for Windows SDK beta last year, I tried to write an app to recognize a simple gesture. It was way too complex. The SDK spits out a stream of joint data (X,Y, and Z axis data points for each of the 20 locations on your body that the Kinect tracks) at 30 frames per second. In order to recognize gestures you have to track coordinates in space over periods of time, compensate for a margin of error, and somehow determine that the user is actually moving deliberately the way you want them to.
“My idea was to simplify this process by breaking down a gesture, say a hand wave, into poses. A gesture is a series of poses that are matched sequentially. So, I wrote a recorder (I’m an audio recording engineer so my brain just goes there…) that takes snapshots of your body and saves the data into a collection of poses. Then I wrote a matcher that watches you in real time, and determines if you’re hitting the poses. It’s a lot of logic and math, but at the end of the day all that goo is abstracted away from the programmer. If you want to recognize somebody flapping their arms, rocking their head from side to side, kicking their feet, swaying their hips, or just about anything you can think of, you’re crazy if you don’t use some kind of gesture matching toolkit like GesturePak.”
GesturePak is the first such toolkit to surface for the Kinect For Windows device, although Microsoft seems to be creeping in that direction. They have announced that version 1.5 of the Kinect SDK will have tools to allow developers to “record, playback and debug clips of users engaging with their applications.” While that’s not gesture recognition, it’s getting close.
Franklin doesn’t seem concerned. “We plan on supporting every version of the Kinect for Windows SDK and continuously adding value to that SDK with tools, samples, and utilities that make developers more productive and frankly let them have a little more fun.”
Franklin’s company, Franklin’s Net, sells GesturePak online at http://gesturepak.com. There you can download a very cool interactive demo that blends video and audio with the recording software. Franklin himself guides you through the process of recording and testing a gesture. The demo allows you to create and test as many gestures as you like, even matching multiple gestures at the same time. If you want to save those gestures or recognize them in your own Windows apps, however, you’ll have to buy a developer license.
A single developer license is $99 and a site license is $799. That’s pretty reasonable, seeing as developers command $80 or more per hour to do what they do, and rolling your own gesture recognition software could take many man months.
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SOURCE Franklin’s Net