According to Microsoft this will be "the world's first joint research center dedicated to studying and perfecting the social applications of NUI [natural user interfaces]." That's about as incredibly specific as these sorts of claims get, but still, Redmond's new Australian facility is an intriguing one - particularly in light of the company's all-in Kinect investment in the wake of the Xbox One. Of course, the peripheral's applications have long gone beyond the world of gaming, a matter helped along by a seemingly endless parade of third-party hacks, the development of Kinect for the PC and a move toward gesture-based control in the home. The Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces has a long list of additional spaces it intends to study, including offices, classrooms, museums and healthcare.

The research center is a joint project between MS Research and the University of Melbourne, with some help from the state government and Microsoft Australia.