Microsoft has released a highly anticipated programming toolkit for Kinect that will help enthusiasts, academics, and researchers dream up new uses for the hands-free sensor.

The Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) allows developers to plug the Kinect sensor—and the in-depth stream of 3-D imagery it gets from its camera—directly into a Windows-based PC. This gives developers access to the "raw sensor streams" in Kinect, including its high-performance skeletal-tracking capabilities, a sophisticated microphone array, and sample code to demonstrate how to use the sensor.

This SDK includes the following features:
Raw sensor streams
Access to raw data streams from the depth sensor, colour camera sensor, and four-element microphone array enables developers to build upon the low-level streams that are generated by the Kinect sensor.
Skeletal tracking
The capability to track the skeleton image of one or two people moving within the Kinect field of view make it easy to create gesture-driven applications.
Advanced audio capabilities
Audio processing capabilities include sophisticated acoustic noise suppression and echo cancellation, beam formation to identify the current sound source, and integration with the Windows speech recognition API.
Sample code and documentation
The SDK includes more than 100 pages of technical documentation. In addition to built-in help files, the documentation includes detailed walkthroughs for most samples provided with the SDK.
Easy installation
The SDK installs quickly, requires no complex configuration, and the complete installer size is less than 100 MB. Developers can get up and running in just a few minutes with a standard standalone Kinect sensor unit (widely available at retail outlets).
This SDK is designed for non-commercial purposes only; a commercial version is expected to be available at a later date.

for more information visit

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/ 

http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/KinectSDKQuickstarts

NM