Frequently asked questions

What's new

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Microsoft is consolidating the Kinect for Windows developer experience around a single sensor and is no longer producing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. We encourage developers who do not already have the v2 sensor to use the Kinect for Xbox One sensor and Kinect Adapter for Windows to create interactive v2 solutions and applications. The adapter enables you to connect a Kinect for Xbox One sensor to Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets in the same way as you would a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor. And because both Kinect for Xbox One and Kinect for Windows v2 sensors are functionally identical, our Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 works exactly the same with either.

Microsoft remains committed to Kinect for Windows as a development platform. While we are no longer producing Kinect for Windows v2 sensors, we continue to focus on Kinect innovation and providing developers with the tools they need to develop Kinect for Windows applications and solutions—whether they are using the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor or the Kinect for Xbox One sensor with the Kinect Adapter for Windows.

Read the blog about this announcement

Purchase the Kinect for Xbox One sensor and Kinect Adapter for Windows in the Microsoft Store

While we are no longer producing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, please be assured that our support for the v2 sensor remains unchanged and you can continue to use it for both commercial and non-commercial uses.

We will sell the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor until we run out of the current stock. We are no longer manufacturing Kinect for Windows v2 sensors. If you don’t have a v2 sensor, we encourage you to purchase the Kinect for Xbox One and Kinect Adapter for Windows for developing and running Kinect for Windows v2 applications.

Released in October 2014, the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 provides you even more control in building applications that facilitate natural interactions among humans, objects, and their environments. With the latest sensor and SDK 2.0, you can create Kinect for Windows v2 applications for commercial distribution through the Windows Store, allowing you to reach more potential customers, including businesses, consumers, and other developers.

Download the free SDK 2.0

The Kinect Adapter for Windows connects your Kinect for Xbox One sensor to Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets so that you can take advantage of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 to create interactive applications that respond to peoples’ movements, gestures, and voice commands. With the adapter, the Kinect for Xbox One sensor performs identically to the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor with v2 applications and development.

The adapter is not for use with Xbox consoles. You can use it as a spare power supply for the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor.

Check hardware availability in your region

With the latest release of the Kinect for Windows SDK, more of our partners, Most Valuable Professionals, and other Kinect for Windows developers are building applications that you can purchase or download from the Windows Store. See what’s available and watch for more in the future.

Learn about downloading or purchasing Kinect-enabled apps in the Windows Store

With the release of the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0, you can create Kinect for Windows v2 applications for commercial distribution through the Windows Store, allowing you to reach more potential customers, including businesses, consumers, and other developers. You need to register with the Windows Store and follow the standard submission process. We have identified specific information that you must provide for Kinect for Windows apps.

Learn how to submit your app for distribution in the Windows Store

Read the publishing guidelines for Windows Store apps

With more than 200 improvements and updates, including enhancements to Visual Gesture Builder, Kinect Studio, and Kinect Fusion, you can start coding more quickly with a much more stable and feature-rich development kit. There are no fees or runtime licenses for commercial applications developed with the SDK.

The latest SDK 2.0 features include:

Feature

Benefits

Potential applications

Improved body, hand and joint orientation

With the ability to track as many as six people and 25 skeletal joints per person—including new joints for hand tips, thumbs, and shoulder center—and improved understanding of the soft connective tissue and body positioning, you get more anatomically correct positions for crisp interactions, more accurate avateering, and avatars that are more lifelike.

New and better scenarios in fitness, wellness, education and training, entertainment, gaming, movies, and communications

Windows Store support

You can now create Windows Store apps by using tools you already know, and offer them to a broad consumer audience.

You can list and sell your Kinect v2 applications in the Windows Store.

Unity Pro support

For more than just gaming, Unity Pro offers cross-platform rapid prototyping.

Build and publish apps by using tools that you already know across multiple platforms.

Powerful tooling

Kinect Studio provides enhanced recording and playback, and Visual Gesture Builder lets developers build their own custom gestures that the system recognizes and uses to write code by using machine learning, increasing productivity and cost efficiency.

Develop on the go without the need to bring the Kinect sensor with you. Create custom gestures that decrease the time to prototype and test solutions.

Advanced facial tracking

Resolution is 20 times greater, enabling the application to create a mesh of more than 1,000 points for a more accurate representation of a person’s face.

Build avatars that appear more lifelike.

Simultaneous multi-app support

Improved multi-app support enables multiple applications to access a single sensor simultaneously.

For example, by allowing a retail app and a business intelligence app to access the same sensor, you can get business intelligence in real time in your retail space.

General questions

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The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and the Kinect for Xbox One sensor—when used with the Kinect Adapter for Windows—give developers more of the precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities they need to develop interactive applications that use voice and gestures. Key features include:

  • Depth sensing

  • Full color 1080p HD video

  • New active infrared (IR) capabilities

Learn more about Kinect for Windows v2 features

Check hardware availability in your region

Yes! The latest Kinect sensor, whether it’s the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor or the Kinect for Xbox One sensor (used with the Kinect Adapter for Windows), and SDK 2.0 are fully compatible with Windows 8 and have been tested for use with computers and devices running Windows 8 or 8.1 and Windows Embedded 8.

See system requirements

Windows Embedded 8 gives enterprises access to additional features to support industry devices within intelligent systems, including compatibility with thousands of existing Windows applications and drivers. Support for Kinect for Windows paves the way for an exciting future for applications to come across retail, healthcare, and other industry scenarios.

There are numerous ways to use Kinect for Windows on Windows Embedded-based devices. From the healthcare industry, to industrial automation and manufacturing, to interactive digital signage for retail and more, Kinect for Windows technology helps increase ease of use, reduce training time, and make employee and customer experiences more enjoyable.

Additionally, Kinect for Windows can provide you with valuable user-centric data that you can use to drive key business decisions.

Businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies have already developed Kinect for Windows solutions. Major global companies are creating innovative natural user interface (NUI) solutions with Kinect for Windows, including Amana, Audi, Build-A-Bear, Coca-Cola, Denver Broncos, Disney, Mattel, and Pepsi.

Learn what some of our partners are saying about Kinect

Yes. Here are a few examples of recent deployments that used Kinect for Windows.

  • Ubi Interactive: A public high school system, Colegio de Bachilleres del Estado de Puebla, rolled out a Ubi Interactive touchscreen solution that uses the Kinect sensor making learning interactive for more than 26,000 students in Pueblo, Mexico.

  • Intel-GE Care Innovations: Intel-GE Care Innovations uses the Respond Well physical therapy solution, which monitors patients’ progress and corrects their technique as they perform rehab exercises from the comfort of home.

  • Denver Broncos: The organization deployed Kinect for Windows in their stadium’s “Technology Zone” this winter (just in time for the Super Bowl) to enhance the experience for the fans in attendance. Solutions provider 2lemetry built an application that displays informational content, such as a timeline with archival footage, cheerleader backgrounds, and the team’s roster with updated stats for fans to watch on two screens. It also includes an interactive trivia game that lets fans in the stadium compete against each other in real time.

    Watch the video

  • Amana: Amana-Whirlpool created Kinect-enabled, interactive in-store kiosks to help shoppers make informed buying decisions. The kiosk consists of an Amana refrigerator, dishwasher, combination range/microwave hood—and a Kinect sensor, positioned to capture a customer’s interactions with the products. After noting which product has grabbed the customer’s attention, the solution provides the appropriate guidance and product information—contextually and in real time. This ingenious system has been deployed in stores across the United States and featured at Digital Experience.

    Read the blog

  • Pepsi: Pepsi developed an interactive vending machine that invites fans to test their soccer skills against an all-star squad. With their moves captured by a Kinect sensor, thirsty fans are challenged to beat the pros for the reward of a free Pepsi.

    Watch the video

Yes. Kinect for Windows can be a valuable tool in a variety of healthcare situations. Doctors and nurses are using Kinect for Windows to navigate through critical documents in the operating room by gesturing—allowing them to remain sterile and save time. Also, gesture-based training enables doctors to practice their surgical skills in a more realistic environment—and for less than the cost of surgical simulators. Outside of the operating room, Kinect for Windows is being used to enhance physical therapy, monitor a patient's progress, and more. A number of healthcare organizations have integrated Kinect for Windows into their healthcare services including Intel-GE Care Innovations, GestSure, Reflexion Health, alex’s place, OPECT, InterKnowledgy, Avanade, RespondWell, higi, and Genesis Healthcare. Most recently (and notably), in May 2014, Jintronix received FDA clearance for their stroke-rehab solution. According to the company, this is the first time that the Kinect sensor has been approved for use directly with patients in a healthcare setting—paving the way for sensor technology to be used in this way more broadly in the future.

See examples of Kinect for Windows in healthcare

Yes. Kinect for Windows can be found in a variety of interactive retail experiences that engage customers, enhance brand awareness, and help customers drive toward a purchasing decision. Solutions range from virtual product trials to interactive screen experiences that respond to gesture and voice. The many companies that have already taken advantage of Kinect for Windows solutions in the retail industry include Amana, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Barbie (Mattel), Build-A-Bear, Kimetric, Nissan, Marks & Spencer, Audi, and Pepsi.

See examples of Kinect for Windows in retail

Yes. Ideal for hands-free presentations and interactive learning, Kinect for Windows can be found in a variety of education and training scenarios, from early childhood education through corporate training. Several institutions already use Kinect for Windows in education and training applications, including Ubi Interacive, Kaplan Early Learning, nsquared, IES/MiloRange, and Siemens PLM Software.

See examples of Kinect for Windows in education

Yes. Kinect for Windows is being used to enhance entertainment services by providing real-time interactions with audiences. Among the companies using Kinect for Windows in entertainment are Konami and Distortions Unlimited, whose animatronic, interactive monsters appeared on an episode of the Travel Channel’s Making Monsters.

See examples of Kinect for Windows in entertainment

Developer questions

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To develop Kinect for Windows v2 apps, you need the latest Kinect sensor (Kinect for Windows v2 sensor or Kinect for Xbox One sensor), the free Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) 2.0, and a PC or tablet running Windows 8.0 or 8.1. If you don’t already own a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor, the Kinect Adapter for Windows enables you to connect a Kinect for Xbox One sensor to Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets in the same way as you would a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor (which is no longer being produced). And because both Kinect for Xbox One and Kinect for Windows v2 sensors are functionally identical, our Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 works exactly the same with either.

The Kinect sensor and the Kinect Adapter for Windows are available via the Microsoft Store and worldwide resellers. The adapter is not for use with Xbox consoles.

Check hardware availability in your region

Download the free SDK 2.0

The latest sensor, whether it’s the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor or the Kinect for Xbox One sensor, and free SDK 2.0 equip businesses and organizations with Microsoft’s latest human computing technology to develop and deploy gesture- and voice-based applications for their customers and business needs. With the improved precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities of Kinect v2, businesses and developers can bring their innovative ideas to life more efficiently.

In addition to the key technology improvements listed above, by using the latest sensor and SDK, developers can create Kinect v2 applications for commercial distribution through the Windows Store. The Windows Store offers applications from a variety of categories, reaching a widespread customer base.

The SDK 2.0 is the latest compatibility band for Kinect for Windows. You will need a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor—or the Kinect Adapter for Windows and a Kinect for Xbox One sensor—and must port your application to the SDK 2.0. In most cases, we have seen these ports go smoothly for developers. The v2 API is an evolution of the Managed API for Kinect for Windows, so it is easy to port the vast majority of applications.

There is no separate download for the v2 runtime. The runtime, driver, and firmware will download automatically when you connect your sensor to your PC or tablet.

Since version 1.5, the Kinect for Windows SDK and toolkit have supported real-time face tracking. Face tracking is not intended for facial recognition or identification. Face tracking detects and tracks the positions and orientations of faces in real time and provides animated three-dimensional (3D) meshes that are positioned in 3D over the Kinect depth sensor data. Face tracking can animate, in real time, eyebrow positions and mouth shape, as well as provide a high-resolution 3D mesh of the face than can be animated. With the SDK 2.0, Kinect can also track whether eyes are open or closed, the position of the nose, facial expressions, and the direction the face is pointing. The resolution of the tracked face has been increased by 20 times with a 1,360-point mesh, so that faces look more realistic. Conventional face-recognition algorithms can be used with the Kinect sensor’s RGB stream; we continue to investigate how the Kinect sensor's extra capabilities can be used.

For applications that will make intensive use of Kinect for Windows body tracking in addition to custom application processing, we recommend using the computer configuration below as a reference. We find that it can provide great performance in the most challenging of tracking scenarios, while still allowing for additional application processing and maintaining optimal frame rate.

Hardware requirements for the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and the Kinect Adapter for Windows*

  • 64 bit (x64) processor

  • Physical dual-core 3.1-GHz (2 logical cores per physical) or faster processor

  • USB 3.0 controller dedicated to the Kinect sensor**

  • 4 GB RAM

  • Graphics card that supports DirectX 11**

  • Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows Embedded 8

*The Kinect Adapter for Windows enables you to connect a Kinect for Xbox One sensor to Windows 8.0 and 8.1 PCs and tablets in the same way as you would a Kinect for Windows v2 sensor (which is no longer being produced).

**We recommend that you run the Kinect Configuration Verifier to check your system for issues and to verify that you’re running the latest driver for your GPU. The tool will check the operating system, physical memory, USB and graphics hardware, and will also determine if a Kinect sensor is present and receiving the expected frame rate. The tool will display a color and depth image if the system is correctly receiving frames from a Kinect sensor. If any part of the computer is determined to be incompatible with the Kinect sensor, it will be flagged as a warning or an error.

Run the Kinect Configuration Verifier

The Kinect for Windows SDK commercial license authorizes the development and distribution of commercial applications that were developed by using the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK). The non-commercial license applied to the first preview version of the SDK, which was appropriate for research, testing, and experimentation, but is not suitable to produce commercial products. The commercial license that is available with the Kinect for Windows SDK enables developers to create and sell their Kinect for Windows applications to customers who use Kinect for Windows or Kinect for Xbox One hardware on Windows platforms.

Read the SDK end-user license agreement

Yes. If you are on a Mac, you can use Bootcamp or Windows to Go. If you are running Windows 7, you can use Windows to Go. You will need a system that has a DirectX 11 compatible GPU.

This greatly expands the utility of the SDK and toolkit, as they can be used on any machine whose native operating system supports running Windows.

Yes. If you have the Kinect for Xbox One sensor, you can purchase the Kinect Adapter for Windows and use your sensor with the SDK 2.0 to develop v2 apps on your PC or tablet. (The adapter is not for use with Xbox consoles.)

Check hardware availability in your region

Kinect Fusion “fuses” data that is captured by a Kinect sensor into a digital copy that closely mimics the real world. Instead of taking a single snapshot from the sensor, Kinect Fusion combines—in real time—multiple snapshots from various perspectives from a moving Kinect sensor to create a full 3D model. With this capability, Kinect for Windows becomes one of the most affordable tools available today for creating accurate 3D renderings.

The latest sensor, whether it’s the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor or the Kinect for Xbox One sensor, and SDK 2.0 are fully compatible with Windows 8 and have been tested for use with computers and devices with 64-bit processors running Windows 8 or 8.1 and Windows Embedded 8.

Find more hardware requirements

Kinect for Windows v2 is designed to operate on computers running Windows 8 or 8.1 and devices running Windows Embedded 8. Previous versions of Kinect for Windows were designed to operate on computers equipped with Windows 7 and industry devices running the Windows Embedded 7 and Windows Embedded 8 family of operating systems for the purposes of running Windows desktop applications. Due to the processing requirements, some older computers may not support the latest Kinect sensor or some of the software capabilities; newer machines should be fine. Minimum specification is a dual-core 3.1 GHz computer with a 64-bit processor dedicated USB 3.0 controller, and 4 GB RAM.

Academic pricing questions

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We are offering a competitive price for the latest sensor in order to make it available to more people, so that everyone can benefit from using this advanced technology—from academics to independent developers to commercial customers. We are not offering any special pricing at this time.

Get the hardware

With the latest sensor and SDK, you can develop state-of-the-art applications for Windows desktop and distribution via the Windows Store.

Check availability in your region

Download the SDK

Develop commercial apps or Windows Store apps with the SDK 2.0.

Develop applications

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