The Kinect for Windows commercial program has launched, putting the power of Kinect into the hands of companies worldwide.

Any business can join innovation leaders, such as United Health Group, American Express, Mattel, Telefonica, and Toyota that already are developing applications with Kinect for Windows. Microsoft says that as part of the Kinect for Windows early adoption program, over 300 companies from more than 25 countries are exploring ways to improve internal operations, build new customer experiences, and potentially revolutionise their industries.

In an effort to encourage small businesses to work with Kinect, Microsoft and Tech Stars are running a Kinect Accelerator program - offering entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators the opportunity to develop applications with Kinect as part of a 3-month intensive competition.

"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."

Kinect for Windows offers features such as advanced speech and audio capabilities with the latest Microsoft Speech components; 'near mode' which sees objects as close as 40 centimetres in front of the sensor; improved skeletal tracking that enables control over which user is being tracked by the sensor; and a commercial ready installer.

The Kinect for Windows commercial license is available in 12 countries with access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking.

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