Microsoft announces 'Kinect Accelerator' program

Microsoft announced the Kinect Accelerator program today, a three-month incubation program to develop new Kinect-enabled Windows and Xbox 360 applications. The company is now accepting applications, and ten finalists will enter the program between March and May of 2012, in Seattle, WA. Applications close January 25, but Microsoft encourages early applications for consideration.

Each of the participating companies will get a $20,000 investment, an Xbox development kit, the Windows Kinect SDK, office space in Seattle for the duration of the event, along with resources from BizSpark, plus company training and support.

Companies don't need previous experience with Kinect; just a business model that plans to leverage Kinect. Plus, companies need the ability to relocate for three months, obviously. Each of the ten participants will have an opportunity to present at an Investor Demo day for investors and media.

Suggested Accelerator concepts include manufacturing, retail, education, healthcare, gaming, social applications. Microsoft says that companies can show off one type of application even if more are planned -- for example, showing a web UI but also planning a mobile UI. Finally, Microsoft says it can be cloud-hosted, but it needs to be an application first and foremost.

Gaming is only mentioned once in the announcement, but out of ten selected companies we might see at least a few interesting game concepts harvested from the program. If you actually own a company and you're interested in applying, you can do so through the Accelerator site.