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?