Microsoft’s Azure Kinect Developer Kit Technology Transfers to Partner Ecosystem
Published Aug 17 2023 08:00 AM 25.5K Views


As the needs of our customers and partners evolve, we regularly update our products to best support them. From time to time, this includes introducing new opportunities, as well as retiring products. We have made the decision to end production of Azure Kinect Developer Kit, but this is far from the end of this technology as it will continue to be available through our partner ecosystem.


Microsoft has been a pioneer in depth-sensing cameras for over a decade and built them to support various first-party products and experiences. This includes controller-free gaming for Xbox, as well as scene understanding and hand tracking for HoloLens. The latest iteration of Microsoft's indirect time-of-flight (iToF) depth sensing technology was brought to market with HoloLens 2. The same depth camera module in HoloLens 2 was also provided to the developer community as part of Azure Kinect Developer Kit.


Evolution of Working with Partners on Depth Sensor Production


Over the years, we have developed partnerships and licensed our depth-sensing technology to partners who have built devices to help with quality, experience, industry specific requirements, and productization. This technology has been through a series of evolutions over the past 10 years. It is important to us that this technology remains available to the ecosystem. When it came time to bring users newer iterations of depth cameras built on top of Microsoft developed iToF depth sensing, it was clear partnering with leaders in the ecosystem and empowering them to deliver end-to-end solutions was the best option.


Microsoft has licensed our pixel and sensor technology to Analog Devices, a semiconductor company, which has used the technology to build their own depth sensors and camera modules. Analog Devices has since brought two depth sensors, a depth camera module, and custom low-power Depth ISP (Image Signal Processor) to process raw sensor data to generate depth maps to the market and has a vibrant roadmap to democratize this technology.


We also partnered with SICK A.G., a global manufacturer of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial applications, in their effort to build depth cameras, like the Visionary-T Mini, and the world's first 3D time-of-flight safety camera, the safeVisionary2, using our technology.


In 2021, we began working with Orbbec to use our tech in their 3D depth cameras for manufacturing, and they’ve now brought cameras based on Microsoft’s iToF depth technology into the market. Since we began our partnership with Orbbec, they’ve launched the Femto Mega camera, which offers onboard compute for processing raw depth sensor data to depth map to offload the host PC from running this compute and free up more compute for user applications.


New Partner Options


This week, Orbbec launched the Femto Bolt. The product is a partner option that customers who are interested in a solution like Azure Kinect Developer Kit can consider. Orbbec’s camera offerings use the same depth camera module as Azure Kinect Developer Kit, and developers can migrate their existing applications using Azure Kinect Developer Kit to Orbbec’s cameras using the API bridge provided as part of their SDK.



Orbbec's Femto Bolt



We believe that with these partnerships the community will have access to a broad variety of sensors, camera modules and camera systems built on top of Microsoft iToF technology.


If you are an existing user of Azure Kinect Developer Kit or are planning to use it for your application, you can continue to do so without disruption. The Azure Kinect Developer Kit SDK (software development kit) will continue to be available for download. You can also purchase additional devices until the end of October or until supplies last. Devices sold will have the standard limited hardware warranty. If you are looking for a long-term solution or need to customize the hardware for your specific needs, we encourage you to explore the offerings from our partners. 


Thank you for your support and feedback over the years. It is amazing what Microsoft and the developer community have been able to achieve together.





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‎Aug 16 2023 01:28 PM
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