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Microsoft releases Kinect robotics developer toolkit

For anyone hoping to add a bit of 3D motion tracking to their home brew robots, now it could get a lot easier with the Kinect robotics software development kit (SDK) that Microsoft has released.

The Seattle software giant has been avidly pushing the Kinect platform since its initial release to have more uses than just dance games, providing this beta SDK for anyone that wanted to experiment further. From there, homebrew hackers got to work creating virtual light-sabres, on the fly facial manipulation and gesture controls. One other avenue of exploration has been in robotics.

Strapping a Kinect to the top of your little mechanical pal means it can see in 3D, allowing for advanced tracking, object avoidance and more. Now with Microsoft's own Kinect centric robot development kit, the company is hoping to expand the hardware's usage in this sector

The official page lists a few benefits of the kit:

  • With RDS4 simulation tools, you don't need physical hardware to develop a Kinect-based robot!
  • RDS4 also adds support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4, XNA Game Studio 4.0, and Visual Studio 2010.
  • Developers can use the tool to build commercial products based on the RDS4 platform.

It also recommends a kit put together by Parallax Inc that while not including Kinect and laptop purchase costs, does allow for the very simple building of a basic all seeing robot. Known as Eddie, the un-assembled "follow-me" robot costs just under $1,250 for any budding creators that aren't quite sure where to start on their own potential Asimo rival.

Dipping his toes into almost everything that could be labeled 'nerdy' in his free time, Jon has been writing about technology for over half a decade. While mainly focusing on PC hardware thoughout this time, today he's more varied, covering everything from gaming to general electronics, industry perspectives and consoles. As well as writing for different sites, Jon enjoys wargaming, reading and PC gaming, hoping to balance out these geeky pastimes with fire spinning and MMA.