Ever since the Xbox Kinect was released, researchers have been using the technology – hacking it – to make it do more. And now Microsoft aims to give people the boost they need to unleash the technology inside for whatever purpose they want.

Over 18 million Kinects have been sold in the past year for the Xbox 360, practically declaring how much love we all have for Microsoft’s motion gaming concept.

Since the release of the Kinect – students, programmers, researchers – have plugged the motion gaming accessory into their computers and founds ways to improve the world, creating ways to help kids with autism, arts projects, robots, and lots more. Microsoft even calls this the “Kinect Effect”.

Now, Microsoft is trying something different, announcing to the crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that the Kinect will be officially made available for Windows.

Available in Australia from February, the new version of the Kinect will be available for anyone who wants to take a stab at programming motion-controlled applications and games.

We don’t have a local price as of yet, but have heard that there may be some academic pricing for students keen to make use of the Kinect’s advanced camera, microphone, and depth sensor technology.