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Microsoft Kinect Turns 1, Opening Up to Serious Business

Almost one year ago, on November 4, 2010, Microsoft launched one of the most revolutionary devices on the market today – the Kinect. It's entirely possible that Microsoft didn't know what it had on its hands. After all, the Kinect was a gaming peripheral for the Xbox – hardly serious business. But then the hacking community got its hands on it, making it so much more.

Microsoft's new TV ad for the Kinect recognizes all the other uses of this technology. Check it out below:

While these are dramatizations, they're based on real-world work. Tedesys, a technology startup in Cantebria, Spain, that is working on software that will make Kinect useful in an operating room.

During surgeries, the doctors can use gestures and motions to review a patient's medical information without the need to leave the sterile environment to touch paper or keyboard.

"Using Microsoft Kinect, they can check information on the patient without touching anything, and in this way they can avoid [the risk] of bacterial infection," said Jesus Perez, Tedesys' chief operating officer.

Microsoft announced that it will release a commercial SDK in 2012, meaning that the Kinect will officially move from being just a gaming peripheral to a full market device. Microsoft named Toyota, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Razorfish as companies developing commercial Kinect applications.

UPDATE: The Windows SDK has hit beta 2 and it's available for download here.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.