Official open source driver for Kinect
Source: OpenNI R&D company PrimeSense, the company responsible for the technology behind Microsoft's Kinect camera system, has, in conjunction with Willow Garage and Side-Kick, released official Windows and Linux (Ubuntu version 10.10 and later) open source drivers for Kinect. What was previously the work of several independent programmers has now been given the vendor's official seal of approval. Microsoft also now seems to have recognised the innate potential of amateur programmers in developing new ideas for using the Kinect for gesture control and is now actively supporting them.
The drivers allow access to the Kinect's audio, video and depth sensors and include a complete API known as OpenNI (open natural interaction). This creates a bridge to PrimeSense's NITE Middleware, which allows a vector skeleton to be overlaid on filmed persons, enabling real-time motion capture. It also includes recognition of hand gestures and voice commands and a 'scene analyser', which detects figures in the foreground and separates them from the background. As well as Kinect, OpenNI also supports other PrimeSense 3D cameras.
Source code and detailed documentation including sample code, can be accessed at OpenNI.org. The companies are hoping that publishing the code will give impetus to open source development for motion detection and gesture control using 3D cameras.
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