Following Microsoft's lead, Sony announced yesterday that it is opening up its motion controllers to academics and hobbyists.

With a server application called, Mobile.me, Sony will allow programmers to expand on the functionality of the Move controller and Playstation eye for countless new uses. 

Medical researchers, for example, would be able create applications with uses ranging from physical therapy to rehabilitation. Sony says that the software can also allow hobbyists to create their own education, music, and sports games.

We see Move.Me as an opportunity to satisfy the need for new, innovative interactive technology in fields like academia, healthcare, and more, as well as to support new developers and inspire applications that we could never have imagined, said Sony senior Engineer John McCutchan on the Playstation Blog.

Microsoft made a similar announcement Feb. 22 for its Kinect controller. In the announcement, Microsoft storyteller Steve Clayton cited all of the many ways hobbyists and academics had expanded the use of the controller beyond video games.

The community that has blossomed since the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360 in November shows the breadth of invention and depth of imagination possible when people have access to ground-breaking technology, he said.

With Move.me, Sony is distancing itself from its reputation as a company hostile towards users who expand the functionality of its consoles. The company is in the midst of a number of legal disputes with Playstation 3 users who cracked the console's firmware. Unlike jailbreaking, Move.me is officially sanctioned by Sony.

Sony says the application will be available this spring, but did not announce a date. 

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