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Microsoft Launches Commercial Kinect For Windows Programme

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Businesses of all sizes are being encouraged to develop business applications for Microsoft’s Kinect technology

Microsoft has launched its Kinect for Windows commercial programme and launched a Kinect Accelerator Programme designed to encourage small businesses to develop business applications using the technology.

Microsoft has said that more than 300 companies from more than 25 countries are already developing applications as part of the Kinect for Windows early adoption programme.

Authorised Hacks

The Kinect Accelerator Programme offers entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators the chance to join the likes of American Express, Mattel and Telefonica, who are already involved. Following a screening process, ten finalists will be chosen for a three month incubation programme and will be mentored by one of a number of entrepreneurs, investors and executives from various Microsoft organisations.

Following the release of Kinect on the Xbox 360, a number of hacks were executed on the technology which Micosoft didn’t initially approve of. However it later claimed that it had deliberately left the system open for modification and suggested that the user interface could be used for business applications.

“It’s been just over a year since we launched Kinect for Xbox 360, and we’re only starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible with Kinect,” said Craig Eisler, general manager for Kinect for Windows. “By offering hardware and software that’s designed specifically for Windows applications, we hope to inspire visionaries around the world to create transformative breakthroughs with Kinect—taking its gesture and voice capabilities beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.”

It released a beta version of the Kinect for Windows SDK in June 2011, which made the motion control and voice recognition technology available to developers and researchers. In October it announced that the commercial programme would be launched in early 2012 and even suggested that there could be a PC-optimised version of the technology could be in the works. Kinect has proved popular with consumers and Microsoft has sold 18 million sensors to date.