There was some new action at the Consumer Electronics Show inLas Vegas: Microsoft said their new Kinect motion-sensing game player will work with Windows and not just the Xbox 360.

The Kinect reads your body motion, allowing you to bat a ball or follow a dance lesson as if it were happening in your living room. Having a computer recognize body movements could lead to several applications. Doctors already have begun interacting with a computer without touching it, saving them the trouble of scrubbing up after contact with dirty keyboards. (You can read about some of the experiments using this device and software by Googling “Kinect effect.” See also the “Kinect and motorized skateboard” brief video.)

Microsoft is giving the software away free to developers, a big switch from last year when they were threatening to sue anyone who tried to develop Windows/Kinect applications. Developers will have access to the software and hardware starting February 1, but it could be some time before the rest of us get our hands on one. The new Kinect will be $250, compared to around $150 for the older version that works with the Xbox.

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