Kinect is no longer a peripheral exclusive to the Xbox 360. Microsoft announced yesterday that the developer tools for the Windows PC version of Kinect is available to companies who want to experiment with the technology to enhance their internal operations with the device.

Already, there have been a few individuals out there who have connected the original Xbox 360 device to their computers (and even a PS3) for creative uses, like using Kinect to enhance their game experiences for Skyrim, filtering the game through a program to enable players access to voice commands and mimicry to control onscreen action. Now, it’s officially supported.

Companies like Mattel and American Express have already taken advantage of the technology, integrating it into their business operations. In order to create some more interesting uses of Kinect in a game-free realm, Microsoft is hosting the Kinect Accelerator program, running from April to June, which encourages those interested in the technology to come up with some truly original uses.

The developer Kinect for Windows kit will allow engineers to tweak about the Kinect’s audio/visual tracking to create programs that… do practically anything involving voice command or physical movement. More information can be found on the Kinect For Windows homepage.

It will be interesting to see what kind of software and applicable uses for Kinect companies will be able to come up with. While the actual device will need time to be adopted further into mainstream consumer base, with 18 million Kinects sold among Xbox 360 owners already, it will only be a matter of time before most tech-savvy Microsoft consumers climb aboard. Should this Kinect Accelerator program really be successful, the true potential of Kinect might really be revealed in the hands of people who are really taking the time to devote themselves into further developing and seeing what the technology is capable of.

The Kinect is a peripheral that Microsoft is putting a lot of faith into as the way of the future for controlling home entertainment, demanding all Xbox 360 apps be created with the device in mind. Expect integrated use within Windows 8 and the Xbox 720 – the latter of which is rumored to ship with Kinect 2.

Sources: Microsoft, Reuters

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