Microsoft offering $20,000 to potential Kinect developers

By Tom Warren, on 21st Nov 11 2:34 pm with 9 Comments

Microsoft is planning to offer out $20,000 of funding to support entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators who plan to build a business that takes advantage of the Kinect sensor.

The software giant announced a Kinect Accelerator program last week, aimed at developers or existing startups who are using the Kinect sensor to build apps. The competition will see ten finalists receive an investment of $20,000, an Xbox development kit, the Windows Kinect SDK, office space, all the resources of BizSpark, and technical training and support from Microsoft. The three-month incubation program will run from March to May next year at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

Microsoft is looking for entries that focus on:

  • Any Kinect-enabled application on Windows or Xbox that can be a commercial business
  • Manufacturing to retail, education to healthcare, art installations to gaming, social to interactive play
  • Can be cloud-hosted, on any platform, but needs to be an application
  • Content you might expect on a big screen in the living room

Microsoft’s Kinect sensor has been a phenomenal success story for the company. The console accessory sold out across a number of retailers during last year’s festive season and Microsoft smashed its own estimates of 5 million units in 2010 by shipping 10 million devices. Microsoft’s Kinect accessory has also broken a Guinness World Record. Guinness World Records officially named Kinect for Xbox 360 the fastest-selling consumer electronics device, which sold an average of 133,333 units per day for a total of eight million units in its first 60 days between November 4, 2010 and January 3, 2011.

Microsoft launched its original Kinect for Windows SDK beta back in June, aimed at academic research and enthusiast communities to create new experiences using Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360 accessory. Microsoft launched its own dedicated Kinect for Windows site earlier this month, alongside an updated beta 2 of the Kinect SDK.  The updated beta 2 SDK marks a year of Kinect and includes some new features and updates.

Applications to the competition are now open. Applicants will need to relocate to Seattle for the three month program and the deadline for applications is January 25, 2012. Will we see some real-life applications based on Microsoft’s recent marketing video?

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  • Bruno Pereira

    I don’t tire of seeing this commercial.

  • Anonymous

    Kinects is one of these things that you have to experience for yourself to truly appreciate it. It is amazing these see multiple forms of technology working together in one application.

  • Robert Wade

    Although the commercial is completely unrealistic.  The sensors on the Kinect are VERY much dependent upon gross motor skills, completely incapable of interpreting fine motor skills (e.g., remotely playing the cello is NOT going to be possible for some time).  Also, the fact that most people do NOT have rooms big enough to use the Kinect properly creates another issue.  The only way for Kinect to truly become THE interface meme is for dramatic acceleration of the sensors to happen so that you can be as close to or far from the device as reasonably necessary to interact.  Believe, I want this thing to be able to do that—so many scifi movies entice us with the futuristic mid-air movement of menus, etc.—but as great as Kinect is, it simply isn’t where it needs to be as sensors go.

    • Lewis McCrary

      It will get there.  I love mine and can’t wait to see what comes next. :D

    • Guest

      I wouldn’t say completely unrealistic. Several of the capabilities featured are available today. But yeah, the focus here is on what could be possible in the future, and that assumes sensor and software improvement. There’s every reason to think those will get dramatically better than today’s offering.

    • Anonymous

      You have to remember that today’s Kinect is based on circa 2006-2007 Hw. I’m sure it will dramatically improve with the next generation of XBox which is slated for a 2012/2013 release. Hopefully it will have HD cameras and a higher density of IR points. We should know by E3 next year.

  • Guest

    *Very* good commercial. If all MS’s ads were even half as good as this one, their overall marketing would be 50% better.

    Here’s what I want to know: did Crispin develop this or did some other agency? Tom, do you know? I really hate Crispin’s work. But if they’re behind this ad I’d have to adjust my overall opinion of them a bit.

  • Michael Krahn

    Where is a Kinect developer/s when you need one?