Microsoft have announced a non-commercial Kinect for Windows software development kit with which it hopes academic research and enthusiast communities will create rich experiences using the Kinect technology.

The starter kit will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to deep Kinect system capabilities such as audio, system APIs, and direct control of the sensor.

Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie explains "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, The fruits of these research investments are manifesting across many of our products, Kinect for Xbox 360 among them ... As breakthrough technologies like these reach scale, the resulting creativity and invention will open up a whole new world of possibilities for computing."

Microsoft plans to release a commercial version of the SDK later.