Oct. 23, 2014 | By Alec

For those of you who didn't know, Microsoft has been making inroads into the 3D printing and scanning industry for a while now. Most notably, they've integrated a 3D printing application called 3D Builder into their Windows 8.1 a little over a year ago. This application aimed to be the most user-friendly piece of 3D printing software, that allowed anyone to just 'plug-and-print'.

Initially, this app still required you to have a 3D printer at home. Last month however, Windows announced a collaboration with cloud-based 3D printing service Cubify. Even Windows users who don't have access to a 3D printer at home can now simply create their designs in Microsoft's app, which will then be printed remotely and delivered to their homes.

But now, Windows have taken 3D printing convenience to a whole new level with the latest Kinect SDK (or Software Development Kit). Their Windows SDK 2.0 offers a number of new functions, all of which aim at allowing developers to commercially deploy Kinect-integrated apps into the Windows Store: 'This was a frequent request from the community and we are delighted to enable you to bring more personal computing experiences that feature gesture control, body tracking, and object recognition to Windows customers around the world. Access to the Windows Store opens a whole new marketplace for business and consumer experiences.'

Practically, it consists of 200 improvements and updates to make Kinect more app- and user friendly. Amongst others, this update integrates Kinect into the Kinect Evolution App, which offers developers the opportunity to fully explore all the innovative Kinect functions. It also integrates the Microsoft scanner to work with YAKiT, an app that enables real time animation.

Most interesting for us here at 3ders.org, however, is the update that integrates Kinect into 3D Builder. While this App already made printing easy, it now also offers an easy and quick way for scanning and rendering models. As they claim, it now 'enables anyone to scan a person or object, turn it into a 3D model, and create a 3D print of that model. You no longer have to be a technologist or have access to a 3D printer to create amazing 3D prints!'

They show off their new-found scanning and printing skills in a short clip, where the Windows Kinect is used to make a 3D print a lovely wedding cake top. While most wedding cakes are topped with a stereotypical image of a bride and groom, Windows employee Tim Franklin and his fiancée Francis were looking for a more personal touch.

Dressed in their wedding outfits (a week before the wedding!), the couple are scanned with a Windows Kinect in a matter of minutes. Software developer Kris Iverson, who scans the pair, explains that it a relatively easy process. Most importantly, whatever or whoever is scanned should stand still throughout the process. However, software package itself is resilient to various lighting conditions and easily renders scans in colour.

Using the 3D builder app, Kris then easily plays with the detailed scan before sending it to a 3D printer. The result is, as can be seen below, a beautiful and detailed 3D printed creation of some six or so inches tall. If it is truly this easy, it's definitely worth checking out!

While both the 3D Builder application and the software kit are free to download, you will still need to purchase an adapter that will allow you to hook up your Xbox One Kinect to your pc. These are available for $49.99. 'This adapter allows you to use the Kinect for Xbox One with Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 through a USB 3.0 port. Purchasing the Kinect for Xbox One sensor along with the adapter brings it to price parity with the existing Kinect for Windows v2 sensor.'

Depending on where you are, the adapter should already be available. It's already been released in two dozen countries and regions coinciding with the software package, though it should be available everywhere within a few weeks.

For more on scanning and printing with the Windows Kinect, check out this YouTube clip:


 

Posted in 3D Software

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