Microsoft and Sesame Street create Kinect-based show

Image caption The Sesame Workshop said the announcement was the culmination of nine years of talks

Interactive episodes of Sesame Street are being developed by its creators in conjunction with Microsoft.

The tech company describes the innovation as "two-way television".

The children's show's creators said that Microsoft's Kinect gesture-based and motion-tracking controller was the "perfect input device" for pre-schoolers.

The announcement came at Microsoft's last planned keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Natural movement

A demonstration involved a girl throwing pretend coconuts at a television set equipped with Microsoft's device. The fruits appeared on screen and were caught by the puppet Grover.

The girl could control how high the coconuts were thrown and could also refuse to take part, causing other characters to become involved in the scenario.

Users can also visit Elmo's world where their movements cause colours and shapes to be seen on screen while the puppets talk to them.

The Sesame Workshop said the announcement was the culmination of nine years of talks over ways the two firms could create educational games for children.

"We've had an ongoing dialogue, and when Microsoft decided with the Kinect device that they were focusing on families it was a natural conversation," Terry Fitzpatrick, the non-profit organisation's chief content and distribution officer, told the BBC.

"For a pre-schooler having to deal with a physical controller can be very challenging. Movement is natural to them and getting up and off the couch and active is also something we are very interested in encouraging."

Microsoft had previously saidit was also working with National Geographic and Disney to create other titles which it said would help foster "a positive attitude toward learning".

Kinect for Windows

The Sesame Street demo took place in a keynote that lacked any major revelations.

Image caption Microsoft has said this will be its last keynote appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show

Instead chief executive Steve Ballmer spent much of his time promoting the firm's Windows Phone 7 software that powers Nokia, HTC and other smartphone.

He also used the opportunity to recap features due in its upcoming release of its Windows 8 system software for PCs and tablet computers. A beta release of the software will be made available in February.

A Windows version of the Kinect device will also go on sale following the release of a software development kit last June.

Mr Ballmer said that about 200 companies, including the car manufacturer Toyota and the toy maker Mattel, were preparing software for it.

Quitting CES

Microsoft announced last month that after 15 years this would be its last keynote appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Ablog postsaid it also planned to stop hosting a booth to display its products because the conference's January dates no longer aligned with its product timings.

However, Gary Shapiro, the president of the US-based Consumer Electronics Association which runs the show, repeatedly referred to the move as a "pause".

While introducing Microsoft's chief executive, Mr Shapiro added that he would be "shocked if a Microsoft leader did not return to one of its stages within the next few years".

Although Mr Shapiro referred to the move as a "mutual" decision, some commentators have speculated that the loss could prove damaging to CES's long-term prospects.

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