The Kinect was released last year primarily as a closed commercial product, but it quickly drew interest from indie coders who hacked it to do everything from helping pilot a helicopter-like device to improving operating room efficiency for surgeons. Microsoft is looking to foster more of that sort of experimentation by giving small teams money to build a business around the Kinect's functionality.
Announced today, the Kinect Accelerator program will offer 10 teams three months and $20,000 to create a business based around the Kinect and Natural User Interface technologies. Microsoft provides a few examples of qualifying concepts, but the main requirement is that the business takes advantage of the Kinect.
The program will run next year from March to May, and selected teams must be able to relocate to Seattle, Washington, for the duration of the program. In addition to funding, the incubator will provide office space, development tools, technical training and support, mentorship, input from investors and Microsoft executives, and more. A demo day will be held at the end of the 90 days for teams to pitch their work to angel investors, venture capitalists, Microsoft executives, and the media.
Applications are being accepted now through January 25, 2012. Early submissions will be granted additional consideration.