Microsoft offers $20,000 to Kinect developers

Microsoft is hoping to increase interest in its Kinect motion-sensing platform by offering ten firms $20,000, as well as mentoring and office space, in order to push the system beyond gaming.

The software giant has been praised for letting gamers and home-brew hackers access the software development kit for the Kinect motion sensor, leading to the creation of many interesting adaptions of the technology in just its first few months of release.

Microsoft has now teamed up with the mentoring investment company TechStars to deliver not only expertise but start-up capital for anyone wanting to become a Kinect developer. The only catch out of the whole thing, is that Microsoft will retain a six per cent stake in the company.

The name of this scheme is the Kinect Accelerator, and The Inquirer reports that it's set to run for three months culminating in a presentation day that shows Microsoft higher-ups and investors what's been developed. At this point it will be decided if more money will be given to the start-ups - no doubt requiring an increase in equity.

In order to be accepted into the program, developers will need to show that they have already produced a commercially viable Kinect application. However, Microsoft and the other investors will also be looking at other criteria, including the ability for cloud hosting, usage on a mobile interface, relation to gaming and social interaction.

Any accepted for the scheme will need to relocate to Seattle for the duration, with the deadline for applicants set for the 25th January 2012.