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Finger-free Kinect coming to fondlesome Windows 8

Microsoft game controller support for desktop

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Kinect, Microsoft's hands-free game controller, will run Windows 8 applications from next month.

In its latest Kinect roadmap here, Microsoft states the controller will include support for Windows 8 desktop applications in addition to supporting Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 for development.

The features will come as an update to the Kinect for Windows SDK on 8 October.

"We want to make it easy for our customers to be able to build and deploy on a variety of Windows platforms," Microsoft said.

The company didn't say any more, but the suggestion is either the SDK will run on Windows 8 and that you'll be able to control Windows 8 desktop apps built using the Kinect SDK through the power of gesture instead of touch or keyboard and mouse. Windows 8 is, of course, Microsoft's first fully touch-enabled version of Windows.

Along with the SDK update, Kinect for Windows sensor will be available in six new markets, including China.

Occasionally, something emerges from Microsoft's R&D efforts that genuinely excites devs and geeks - something different to the kind of artificial excitement engendered by Microsoft marketing for a new version of Office. Kinect has proven to be one of those somethings. The dev tool Silverlight is another. And the Surface – the 30-inch touchscreen tabletop that came out in 2007, not the Microsoft Ultrabook that took its name – is a third example.

Originally a controller for its best-selling Xbox released in November 2010, Kinect scored a Guinness World Record by becoming the fastest selling consumer device, with 18 million units shipped by January 2012.

People also began looking for ways to exploit Kinect's gesture control outside of gaming, and even open-sourcers were eager for drivers. Kinect has been used to steer motorised arm chairs, navigate through 3D maps, and has been considered for video conferencing.

In January this year Microsoft helped capitalise on such interest with the Kinect SDK for the PC and the controller currently supports Windows 7 and the Windows 8 Developer Preview. ®

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