Kinect for Windows launching early 2012

Celebrating the first anniversary of Kinect's launch, Microsoft has announced that its commercial Kinect for Windows program will officially launch "early next year." While the official software development kit has been in beta since June and hackers have been playing with Kinect since it launched, this'll bring the big shiny official push for Kinect on Windows.

Though Microsoft focuses on the non-gaming applications for Kinect on Windows in today's announcement, it'll surely bring new and exciting opportunities to wave your arms at video games on your PC too.

Microsoft says that its commercial pilot program for Kinect on Windows has drawn interest from fields including healthcare, education, and art, receiving over 200 applications.

"We saw Kinect being used by therapists and physicians as part of a rehabilitation program for stroke victims, as a skill-building technique for children with autism, and as an application for hospitals in Spain enabling surgeons to scroll through medical images in the operating room with gestures so they could avoid the need to rescrub," Microsoft explains in a blog post using the appalling term "Kinect Effect."

A few of those non-video game uses are shown off in a video Microsoft has whipped together: