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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great guide, let down only by a lack of C++ examples., March 27, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
This book, produced by Packt Publishing, purports to be a complete guide to the Windows Kinect SDK. This is not to be confused with the broader themed Kinect books which may cover more subjects such as OpenNI, Omek Beckon, Lib Freenect or various other related topics. This book very much concentrates on the official Microsoft Kinect SDK.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you ever need to know about Kinect development - In this book., March 11, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
This book is a guide that takes you end to end with Kinect development.

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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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous introduction to the Kinect SDK, March 25, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
Since reading [...] I've take a much more proactive interest in Kinect programming.

Abhijit Janan has taken a very look leading approach to drawing you in to how to use the Kinect SDK and get used to NUI style development.
It builds up very nicely on all the features enabled with Kinect like Skeletons, Audio, Tracking, Guestures and so on getting you a full working app by the end of each chapter.

highly recommend this book for anyone interested in delving into Kinect, much better than any current on-line training resources with practical samples.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good Kinect for PC Programming Guide Book by Abhijit Jana, March 22, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
Since the release of Kinect for PC I had the opportunity to take part and be involved with several Kinect based projects. Starting developing with the Kinect SDK is something that most .NET and native C++ developers can handle very easily. Just download and install the SDK, hook a Kinect device (you can use the Xbox Kinect, however you will need a power cable and do remember that it is just for the development process and some features, like near mode, will not work), run the Kinect toolkit browser, see the sample, read the document and open the source code.
The hard part is to learn to use the Kinect for PC SDK to develop a real word Natural User Interface (NUI) based applications. You will need to deal with developing tasks such as understanding postures and gestures, using voice commands with Windows Speech SDK, and handling multiple Kinect devices simultaneously.
This new book from Abhijit Jana is exactly what you need to flatten the steep learning curve. I wish I had this book when I started dealing with Kinect for PC, myself.
The book starts with the basic features of Kinect and your first Kinect applications. It takes you through all the features of the Kinect device, which are exposed by the SDK. You will learn how to deal with the color and depth Cameras, How to reactive Skeleton events and understand the tracking state of the players. Two chapters talk about Kinect audio, the first one tells you how to get audio stream from the Microphone array and the second chapter teaches you how to use the audio stream as a feed to Microsoft Speech API, to implement Voice Recognition.
The last chapters are going deep. Here you will read about NUI with gestures, understand how to recognize Skeleton positions and how to interpret the player gesture. The last chapter shows how you can add Kinect to a distributed application using the Cloud and the Phone.
Kinect is a revolutionary device and this book provides the information you need to start developing NUI application with it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learn All Aspects of Kinect Development!, March 22, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
If you are really wanting to go beyond the simple examples posted on the web, and really understand and learn all aspects of Kinect development, then this book is for you! It was for me. The authors and publisher worked really hard to illustrate and structure the book well. It was a pleasure to read and I learned much more than I thought I would. One thing I really liked is that they taught me about the hardware of the Kinect, teaching me where each sensor was placed, how the tilt motor functioned and even showed pictures of its internals.

Overall, I think this is a great book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really great coverage of the Kinect for Windows SDK, March 8, 2013
Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide is a great place to start learning about developing software for the Kinect for Windows device. Familiarity with .NET development is the only pre-requisite to the content in this book. Although you will get much more value from the book if you also have a Kinect device to tests your applications.

Before getting in to using the SDK, the author gives some details of the Kinect hardware, including the differences between the original Kinect for Xbox device and the newer Kinect for Windows. Although both can be used with Windows, the device designed for Windows has some different capabilities. Getting the SDK set up and connecting to the device are also covered in the introduction.

The next couple chapters provide an introduction to the SDK and some basics of programming against different capabilities of the Kinect, including depth, color, infrared and audio streams. Developers with some Kinect SDK experience can skip this section and dive directly into the subsequent chapters which provide more depth on these topics. In addition to capturing these data streams, the author provides some excellent advice on skeletal tracking and speech recognition.

Chapter nine goes through the intricacies of recognizing and handling gestures in your applications, chapter 10 covers how to handle input from multiple Kinect devices connected to a PC, and chapter 11 adds other components into the mix (like Azure, Netduino and Windows Phone).

As a newbie to the world of Kinect development, I found the material in the book to be very helpful. I think it would be a great addition to and Kinect developer’s bookshelf, whether you are a casual or commercial developer of Kinect software.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A really nice introduction to Kinect programming, February 24, 2013
By 
Damir Arh (Jesenice, Slovenia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
The book turned out to be a great introduction to Kinect in all aspects. It assumes no prior knowledge of either Kinect or the SDK and even starts out with an explanation of the hardware. Understanding it makes it easier to develop for it later on. Finding all this information elsewhere would've definitely proven challenging and much more time consuming. The section on setting up the development environment surprisingly gives some added value as well. It addresses common issues in a troubleshooting guide and even covers the subject of connecting and using multiple Kinects at the same time, along with the pitfalls to watch out for in this scenario. The author has quite some first hand experience with the subject and it shows.

Most of the book is focused on individual sensors built into Kinect and the APIs for using them. It soon becomes obvious that the book is aimed at novices. It not only explains the concepts behind the SDK classes but at times also delves into the basics of C# and .NET framework as well as WPF when setting up UI in sample apps. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing I did find it distracting and it occasionally made reading the book a bit of a hunt for Kinect related information inside the rest of the sample code. I did like the samples, though. There are many of them and most of the time they make sense on their own and get beyond a basic sample just for the sake of showing a particular feature. Also the accompanying download includes additional working apps with source code that are merely mentioned in the book.

The part of the book that I like the most is about audio processing and gesture recognition. Both of these two subjects are addressed in more depth. For audio processing this means explaining the concepts of speech recognition, and for gestures this is a detailed overview of many different approaches that are possible, starting out with simple ones and leading all the way to neural networks. Don't expect becoming a master of gesture recognition but it will definitely get you going.

All in all this book is a really nice introduction to Kinect programming. It is by no means perfect, most notably because it tries to do too much by making sure total beginners will be able to follow it, but it is a valuable resource, nevertheless. I can recommend it to anyone who is interested in writing his first Kinect application. It might bore you in certain parts but it will certainly save you time in the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on Kinect for Windows SDK, February 11, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
Simplicity
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This book is targeted for amateur to expert programmers. So if you are a hobbyist or a student or a geek, this book is good for you. However it does assume that you know the basics C# and a bit of WPF; after all the book cant teach you .NET, isn't it? If I were a college kid or a grown up who wants to make magic in my garage, then I would buy this book.

Vastness
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The best part I like about this book is that it talks about everything in Kinect for Windows SDK. Whatever the API supports as of today is detailed to a great extend.

Real time applications
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When the book talks about the features of the SDK / Kinect, it also corresponds it to real time applications. The book also has some cool real time samples / ideas for building futuristic applications.

Author's Knowledge
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By far my experience, Abhijit is one of the best person you can find when it comes to Kinect. Abhijit is a good friend and a peer of mine. Needles to say that I have a lot of experience in making projects based on Kinect with him. It has been a great pleasure for me to be a reader of this book from being a reviewer. I am also sure that he will be ready to help you out with your questions about Kinect; just tweet to him.

This is book is not for
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If you are expecting to hack the device and use a open SDK to program, then this book isn't for you. This book is for those who are willing to make personal / commercial applications using Kinect for Windows SDK. Kinect being the center of attention from Medical advancements to interactive media to Sci-Fi projects, you being a enterprise or a person, this is a good start if you dream programming with machines.
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4.0 out of 5 stars superb device with powerful sensors, February 3, 2013
This review is from: Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide (Paperback)
Kinect is a superb device that comes equipped with several sensors, letting you devise applications that are not just game related. The text starts off with a quick tour of the sensors. Most immediate or obvious is the colour camera. But take careful note of the infrared emitter and infrared depth sensor. The former spews out a pseudorandom dot pattern of invisible IR dots and the latter reads the reflections. The software knows by coordinating the output with the resultant input how to [try to] get depth information. Essentially, think of this as sonar. The ping is the emission of an IR dot followed by its detection. Since the dots travel at the speed of light, the time elapsed between emission and detection of a given dot tells kinect how far the dot travelled. Needless to say, but I'm saying it anyway, a lot of computation is still needed to construct a 3 dimensional model of the surroundings.

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.
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Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide
Kinect for Windows SDK Programming Guide by Jana Abhijit (Paperback - December 26, 2012)
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