Book Review: Augmented Reality with Kinect

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Rui Wang’s Augmented Reality with Kinect from Pakt Publishing is my new favorite book about the Kinect sensor.  It’s a solid 5 out of 5 for me and if you want to learn how to use the Kinect 4W SDK 1.5 and above with C++, then this is the book for you.  That said, however, it is also an incredibly frustrating software programming book.

The first issue I have with it is that it isn’t really about Augmented Reality, as such.  The way AR fits in is simply that the central project created in the course of the book is a Fruit Ninja-style game using Kinect and with a player overlay.  AR seems very much incidental to the book.

What it actually is is an intro book to C++ and the Kinect for Windows SDK.  This is actually a much needed resource in the Kinect community and one I have been on the lookout for for a long time.  I’m not sure why the publisher decided to add this “AR” twist to the concept for the book.  It really wasn’t necessary.

Second, the book’s tool chain is Visual Studio 2012, C++, Kinect for Windows SDK 1.5 and OpenGL.  One of these is not like the others!  In the second chapter, we are then told that the book covers OpenGL rather than DirectX because “…it is only used under Windows currently, and can hardly support languages except C/C++ and C#.”  Hmmm.

With those reservations out of the way, this is a really fine book about programming for the Kinect sensor.  C++ is the right way to do vision processing and this is a great introduction to the topic.  Along the way, it even includes a nice overview of face tracking.

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