Microsoft gives Kinect SDK to academics

Commercial version due at a later date.

Motion-sensing Xbox 360 add-on Kinect will be officially available to all non-commercial organisations to help create new interfaces, Microsoft has announced.

Microsoft's decision means enthusiasts no longer need to hack the tech to make those fancy videos possible.

Microsoft Research will release the non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) this spring.

"Microsoft's investments in natural user interfaces are vital to our long-term vision of creating computers that are intuitive to use and able to do far more for us," said Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer.

"The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them."

Microsoft will release a commercial version at a later date, it said.

In the meantime, the non-commercial SDK is designed to act as a starter kit to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create interfaces using Kinect.

"As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale," said Mundie, "the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing."

Microsoft has sold a whopping eight million Kinect units for Xbox 360 since its November 2010 launch.

It's the fastest-selling consumer electronics device of all time.

Since launch hundreds of eye-catching videos showcasing what Kinect can do outside of the Xbox 360 have emerged, created by hackers who have played around with the tech.

Kinect mod shows best interaction yet

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