Almost one year ago this week Kinect set out to change the way people interact with video games. Controller-free games and entertainment – once the stuff of science fiction – had become a reality through the impressive technology behind Kinect.  Sales soared to over 10 million Kinect sensors sold, setting the Guinness World Record as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in 60 days along the way. Kinect opened up Xbox to a broad set of new audiences, bringing new categories of entertainment to the platform.

From family friendly games like The Gunstringer, to the very unique and interesting Child of Eden and even the Auto Vista in Forza 4, Kinect has found some clever uses, even in games you wouldn’t expect – Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary even has some features that utilize it. But the Kinect’s uses go beyond games alone.

Six months ago, a diverse group of hobbyists and academics from around the world embraced the possibilities of Kinect. In a wave of creativity, they downloaded the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK and began developing creative applications and innovative uses in healthcare, education, art and so much more.  Microsoft calls this “The Kinect Effect”.

Marking the 10th November (4th in the US) anniversary of Kinect, Xbox 360 have announced that the Kinect for Windows commercial program will be launched early next year. The commercial program will give businesses the tools to develop applications that not only could improve their own operations, but potentially revolutionise entire industries. To date, more than 200 businesses worldwide – including Toyota, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Razorfish – have joined a Kinect for Windows pilot program to begin exploring the possibilities of Kinect. While no one knows what the future holds, if the past year is any indication, it’s going to be inspiring.