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Getting Started with the Kinect for Windows SDK

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In this chapter from Start Here! Learn the Kinect API, learn how to get a Kinect sensor bar working with a Windows 7 computer and get a quick glimpse of its capabilities.

After completing this chapter, you will:

  • Identify any prerequisites to work with Kinect on your computer

  • Have installed the Kinect for Windows SDK on your computer

  • Have connected the Kinect sensor bar and tested it on your machine

Kinect for Windows SDK Prerequisites

THE KINECT FOR WINDOWS SDK fits alongside an installation of Visual Studio 2010 on your Windows computer. It works on Windows 7. In this section we will look at the things you need to have to get the best out of your Kinect sensor.

Kinect Device

It should come as no surprise that you will need a Kinect device and its power supply along with a USB port so you can plug it into your computer. You can use either of two Kinect sensor bars with the Kinect for Windows SDK. You can use a Kinect sensor from an Xbox console, or you can use a Kinect for Windows sensor that has been optimized for computer use. The examples in this book will work with either sensor bar.

It is best if the Kinect is given exclusive use of a USB connection—that is, if you have a USB hub with your webcam, printer, and external hard disk plugged into it, you should not add the Kinect to the hub as well. The Kinect sensor can produce a lot of data, and it works best if it has exclusive use of its own USB connection.

Visual Studio

Before you install the Kinect for Windows SDK, you must make sure that you have Visual Studio 2010 installed on your machine. The SDK can be used with either C++, C#, or Visual Basic .NET. This text will focus on the use of C# to create managed applications that use the sensor, but the fundamentals of the way the libraries present data to your programs are the same. You can use any version of Visual Studio 2010, including those that are available for free from the Visual Studio Express website:


DirectX Studio

Some of the C++ examples that are supplied with the Kinect SDK make use of the DirectX graphics SDK. If you want to compile and run these programs, you will need to have the DirectX SDK installed. You can download the SDK from here:


There is no need to install this SDK if you only plan to use the Kinect SDK from C# and Visual Basic .NET.