Microsoft has launched the official Kinect SDK for Windows, making the technology behind the Xbox 360 motion-gaming peripheral available for all to download from today.

Announced live, via its web video channel, the company is encouraging developers to use the software development kit to create new PC software using the motion-sensing technology.

The SDK was initially announced at the MIX 2011 expo back in April and now the company has officially launched the non-commercial, Beta version via Microsoft's research website.

Non-commercial

Because this build of the SDK is non-commercial, it is initially aimed at hobbyists, researches and enthusiasts.

The company is planning to launch a commercial SDK in the future, which will allow developers to bring their creations to market.

The SDK includes access to the raw sensors for the camera and microphones and also the skeletal-tracing technology which will allow anyone to create gesture based apps, featuring up to three people

Microsoft says it has also included access to audio elements integrated with Microsoft's speech API.

'Impact hundreds of millions'

Microsoft Research Distinguished Scientist Anoop Gupta said: "Kinect has amazed tens of millions of people, with what you can do by making the body the controller for video games.

"What gets me excited today is that with this SDK is that we can take these new creations creations and impact hundreds of millions of people who have a PC.

"While you were waiting for the SDK, I am now waiting for the magic that people are going to create.

"I know you'll surprise us with your insights and imagination as we extend Kinect to impact robotics, education, healthcare and automotive. The possibilities really are endless.

"All of us are here to make world of computing more natural and intuitive for us. Eventually the computers disappear and become helpers to us rather than tools we have to control."

Success

The Kinect peripheral for Xbox 360 proved a huge success and became the fastest-selling piece of consumer tech of all time.

After criticism from hardcore gamers that the platform was focusing solely on family-friendly games, Microsoft unleashed a host of Kinect-friendly core titles at E3 2011.

Part of the reason Microsoft has been so quick in getting a Kinect SDK out to the developer community is due to a host of impressive hacks that have already made great use of the motion sensor.

Now go and build something beautiful.