Microsoft launches The Kinect Accelerator contest

Microsoft has launched a new contest which will reward ten Kinect-savvy inventors with the corporate funds and resources required to transform their innovative basement hacks into money making – and potentially life-saving – ventures.

Entitled "The Kinect Accelerator," the contest is now open to any would-be developer or visionary team with an idea as to how to use the Kinect and its Natural User Interface technologies in new or groundbreaking ways. Upon applying, candidates will be whittled down to ten, and each team will be invited to join a three month program in Seattle, Washington, wherein they will receive a $20,000 investment plus an Xbox Development kit, the Windows Kinect SDK, free office space in which to work, support from BizSpark, technical training, and access to support and mentorship from higher-ups and experts within Microsoft's network. Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to present their Kinect prototypes to Microsoft, the media, and various venture capitalists at the completion of their three month stint.

There are no hard and fast rules as to what counts as a worthy Kinect Accelerator project, however Microsoft offers a few suggestions including Kinect-enabled applications that can be turned into a commercial business, a device which can be used to enhance education or healthcare, or a Kinect-controlled application for everyday living.

No previous experience is necessary, but if you're planning to apply you better know your stuff (or at least pair with someone who can explain the techy bits). The deadline for applications is January 25, 2012. Read the full submission details at The Kinect Accelerator wesbite, in case you're interested in getting involved.