Big news for all Kinect Hackers out there — Microsoft has announced that a future update for the Kinect for Windows software developer kit (SDK) will integrate its 3D-modeling application called the Kinect Fusion.
Beginning as a research project at their research labs in Cambridge, U.K., Kinect Fusion produces a 3-D recreation of an environment or an object by “combining a continuous stream of data from the Kinect for Windows sensor.” The results of the project impressed the Kinect community and Microsoft started receiving requests for it to be included with their Kinect SDKs. Microsoft has finally acceded to fan requests and a sneak peek of Kinect Fusion to be be made available was showcased at the recent BUILD 2012 event.
Here’s a more detailed description of how Kinect Fusion works from Kinect for Windows senior program manager Chris White:
“Kinect Fusion takes the incoming depth data from the Kinect for Windows sensor and uses the sequence of frames to build a highly detailed 3-D map of objects or environments. The tool then averages the readings over hundreds or thousands of frames to achieve more detail than would be possible from just one reading. This allows Kinect Fusion to gather and incorporate data not viewable from any single view point. Among other things, it enables 3-D object model reconstruction, 3-D augmented reality, and 3-D measurements. You can imagine the multitude of business scenarios where these would be useful, including 3-D printing, industrial design, body scanning, augmented reality, and gaming.”
Kinect for Windows received its last SDK update in October, which brought access to several new features such as extended-range depth data beyond 4 meters, an upgrade that will become necessary for something like Kinect Fusion to work.
So when will Kinect Fusion be available? Microsoft has yet to give a firm release schedule for the update but promises that it will be part of a future release of the developer toolkit. It’s still good to know that we’re about to get some official Microsoft goodies to play with.
Are you excited to try out Kinect Fusion? What kind of uses are you thinking for this 3-D modeling tool? Share your thoughts in the comments!