Microsoft has released a a beta SDK for Windows. This initial release, announced at Microsoft MIX earlier this year, is for non-commercial use only.

Developers will now be able to build Kinect apps using Microsoft Visual Studio. At MIX, Microsoft did some live coding, showing how straight forward it is to work with. Microsoft Director of Developer Relations Jeff Sandquist built a painting app on stage in minutes.

We've speculated before that Kinect could be the next big thing in user interfaces. And one of our readers suggested that the touchscreen optimizations promised in Windows 8 could be designed to make it easier to control Windows with a Kinect device.

Last November, a hacker name Hector Marcan released a Linux driver for Kinect, kicking off a wave of Kinect hacking. One application that's already been built is a Web browser navigation controller powered by Kinect.
Other ways of building Kinect apps include Blitz's Flash-based script and Open Exibits' Flash module.

Now the Linux 3.0 kernel includes a Kinect driver, but
an open source alternative exists: TLD (aka Predator), which uses commodity Web cams instead of the Kinect device.