Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide Paperback – 26 Dec 2012
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About the Author
Abhijit works with Microsoft as a .NET Consultant as part of Microsoft Services Global Delivery, India. As a Consultant, his job is to help customers design, develop and deploy enterprise level secure solutions using Microsoft Technologies. Apart from being a Former Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional), he is a speaker, and author, as well as an avid Technology Evangelist. He has delivered sessions at prestigious Microsoft events like TechED, Web Camps, Azure Camps, Community Tech Days, Virtual Tech Days, Devdays, and developer conference. He loves to work with different .NET Communities and help them with different opportunities. He is a well-known author and has published many articles on various .NET Community sites.
He shares his thoughts on his personal blog at http://abhijitjana.net. You can follow him on twitter at @abhijitjana. Abhijit lives in Hyderabad, India with his wife, Ananya.
Top customer reviews
Love the examples and tutorials and really well described without being too numptified. As a professional software engineer, this really got me started on amateur kinect programming. I wanted to make a demo welcoming touchscreen system with facial recognition and the stuff this bit of kit does made that really possible. This book opened that world to me
The IR devices are how kinect can handle an arbitrary hitherto unknown environment. It is an indication of how sophisticated kinect is that it even contains a small fan. This is to stabilise the temperatures of the IR devices. Since the emitter can otherwise get warm [IR is heat] and thus the wavelength of the emitted IR can vary.
Other sensors include a tilt motor that can register the orientation, within some limits imposed by the hardware. The text warns the user to be careful and not tilt kinect often. Apparently there is some hardware brittleness that can cause problems.
Then there are 4 microphones, oriented so as to let kinect find the direction of the incoming audio, as well as of course record the audio itself. The use of 4 microphones is impressive, as the book explains, for it enables noise suppression, echo cancellation and beam forming methods. Nice!
Potentially the scope of deployment using the book is vast. It lists topics like healthcare, where you can monitor exercises and body movements. Or robotics, where kinect is a navigation system. Maybe develop for the military, putting kinect into airborne drones to surveil the enemy.
The SDK includes a speech recognition engine. It takes advantage of Microsoft's long experience in this subject. You can use its Speech API and a grammar builder. The latter lets you greatly simplify the problem of recognising arbitrary speech. Instead, your application can key off a limited set of spoken commands. By having this known true set of responses, the computational task is greatly eased.
Also useful is the kinect's ability to do skeleton tracking. It can dissect input IR data to identify several humans nearby, and follow each by modelling and tracking certain key parts of the body.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It begins with an excellent and well researched discusson of the Kinect hardware, which is well illustrated, and features all of the relevant information in an easily digestible form, and can be easily picked up if you need to quote a client the specs, like for example the field of vision of the depth sensing camera. It's 43 degrees.
We are then walked through the basic SDK setup, which is simple enough, and then a discussion of the sensor's capabilities. Seaonsed professionals may want to skip through this, as they will likely already know much of this, but nevertheless there may be a few head scratching or eureka moments when you fill in a gap in your Kinect knowlegde, so I'd recommend a read through of this section.
After an overview of the various tools and components of the SDK, we start to see some code examples.
Sadly, this is where the book and I begin to part company. The example code is almost entirely written in C#, which is not a language I generally use. Although I'm perfectly comfortable using Visual Studio, I generally use it to code in C++ (which the SDK extensively supports) so I feel that this was a bit of an oversight. I'm sure for anyone starting out who is already familiar with C# and WPF programming, this wouldn't be a problem, but as I work with Cinder and a number of other C++ libraries, C# isn't really an option.
The book continues on through the various capabilities of the device and the SDK, and as long as you don't mind being tied into C sharp, it's a pretty comprehensive read and holds your hand all the way through. It also covers tricky stuff like the encoding of player ids into the 16 bit depth image stream, something which can cause a lot of confusion starting out, but is vital to get a handle on.
It also covers less well understood topics like speech recognition, beamforming, and does a good job of introducing the reader to simple gesture recognition.
Be aware, however, that gesture recognition is not actually provided by the Kinect SDK as such, and you will have to come up with your own solution for this. This is a pretty common gotcha with Kinect applications, and it can take a long time to get to grips with, so be warned that allthough the material in the book is a good starting point, you may want to look into more sophisticated gesture recognition solutions if your application needs to do anything complicated.
As I've mentioned, I was a bit disappointed on the heavy reliance on C sharp, but the rest of the book is so useful that I'd say it's a welcome addition to your library even if you don't us C#, just for the hardware information alone.
The first chapter provides you with an in-depth introduction into the Kinect sensor itself, for myself one who finds all hardware a mystery it was very educational to have someone pinpoint all the hardware pieces that Kinect consist of.
The 2nd chapter guides you with the preparation of your working environment. It describes in length how to setup the various SDKs and make sure you have zero questions mark before you get into the real thing. Coding.
From there we are skimming though the various properties of the SDK, from extracting information on kinect devices plugged in into setting their properties, for example their tilt angle.
With light and easy to read language, the book takes no prerequisites on the reader knowledge, but WPF knowledge will help concentrating on the main issue which is the SDK and not the user code that operates it.
Also very helpful are diagrams and side information meant for explaining what is going on the device itself and the physics involves with the commands operated.
Skeleton processing or speech processing are most likely what every Kinect driven application is likely to use, the book is full of practical code snippets and approaches that steer away from the academic approach and it's very valuable for someone who doesn't solely care about how it works but how to make it work in his app.
Kinect is here to stay, it's the harbinger of NUI (Natural User Interface), reports indicate that Kinect and other similar devices are getting better and better and are extending the scenarios they can be applied into. You can grab this book and make sure this train doesn't leave without you.
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