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Microsoft gives Kinect SDK to 'academics, enthusiasts'

Non-commercial 'starter kit'

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Microsoft has announced that it will release a Kinect for Windows SDK "starter kit" this spring "to make it simpler for the academic research and enthusiast communities to create rich natural user interfaces" using the motion-sensing device.

"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 Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie when announcing the non-commercial SDK on Monday.

Microsoft says that the non-commercial SDK will "give users access to deep Kinect system information such as audio, system application-programming interfaces, and direct control of the Kinect sensor."

Kinect has already been hacked to work with Mac OS X and with Windows PCs, and Microsoft has already said that an official Windows version was on its way – a stance reiterated in Monday's announcement, which said that Noting that a commercial version will be available "at a later date."

Exactly when that might be is anyone's guess – and at last month's Consumer Electronics Show, CEO Steve Ballmer said only that the Kinect for Windows SDK would be released "in the right time." ®

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