Software giant Microsoft said the non-commercial Kinect software development kit (SDK) for Windows would arrive in spring 2011. A commercial version will follow at a later date.

Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that allows researchers and enthusiasts easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Microsoft Windows 7.

Following are some of the features in the Kinect for Windows Beta SDK:

* Robust Skeletal Tracking for high-performance capabilities that track the skeleton image of one or two persons moving within the Kinect field of view

* Advanced Audio Capabilities, including four-element microphone array with sophisticated acoustic noise and echo cancellation for great audio; beam formation to identify the current sound source and integration with the Windows speech recognition API also included

* XYZ depth camera for standard color camera stream access and depth data that indicates the distance of the object from the Kinect camera

Microsoft's support for Kinect beyond the Xbox platform will increase opportunities for developers to explore new ideas and deliver innovative Kinect applications and experiences. A richer Kinect for Windows API will enable the creativity of these development communities to really come to life, Robert Tuttle, chief architect, frog design, said in a statement.

Frog design created a Kinect-powered Wall Panic PC game, in which players contort their bodies until they match a shape descending on a large screen.

Kinect for Xbox 360, which holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer device in 60 days, allows users to enjoy games and entertainment with their whole body and voice - no controller required. In other words, it enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller.

Kinect, which was launched in Nov. 2010, sold an average of 133,333 units per day with a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days. Ten million units of the Kinect sensor have been shipped as of March 9, 2011.