Microsoft Accepts 11 Startups Into Kinect Accelerator Program

By April 3, 2012

Microsoft has chosen eleven startups – all using the Kinect in interesting new ways – to participate in its Kinect Accelerator Program, which begins this month. The eleven startups were chosen from 500 applicants who hoped to be part of the program, which will run in Seattle until June.

Startups will receive free office space for the duration of the program, as well as a $20,000 budget. Microsoft began accepting applications for the program in November of last year and received a wide range of ideas from companies specializing in healthcare, security, and education among others. Originally the company had planned on accepting 10 applicants, but an extra slot was added after the overwhelming response to the program.

The companies chosen have found really interesting uses for the Kinect. Here’s a bit of detail about the 11 participants:

Freak’n Genius  is working on a really cool animation suite that allows you to put on a show using the many different characters it has created. The animation is done using Kinect’s skeletal and facial tracking technology – even the character’s mouth moves in real time as you talk.

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GestSure Technologies is developing medical tech that will allow surgeons to keep their hands sterile by using Kinect’s gesture recognition to interact with operating room equipment.

IKKOS has created a platform where athletes, particularly swimmers, can intuitively learn precise physical movements by using Kinect’s movement tracking.

Jintronix is a company working on virtual reality software and hardware aimed at helping “patients suffering from a wide variety of motor-control deficiencies.” The hardware side includes virtual reality gloves, which can track hand placement and movement when paired with the Kinect.

Manctl uses the Kinect as a 3D scanner, creating models of rooms, objects, and even people.

NCONNEX is working on a variety of platforms to bring the simplest user interface possible to e-commerce, healthcare, and education platforms. One project called KinPlace allows you to place 3D furniture into a room in your house to see how it might fit.

Styku has created a “smart fitting room,” where shoppers can virtually try on clothes to see how the item would look on their body.

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übi is developing intuitive gesture controls that will work with any existing display, effectively making them into a 3D touch screen interface.

Voxoa is working to bring volumetric 3D – essentially a holographic display – to consumers everywhere with a product it’s calling the VoxieBox.

Two of the companies, Kimetric and Zebcare, are currently in “stealth mode,” though the Zebcare website claims the company is working on a new model of healthcare technology that will “prevent serious injuries or accidents before they occur.”

Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor launched in November of 2010, and became the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever, moving 8 million units in only 60 days. It’ll be really exciting to see over these next few months how these projects develop using the revolutionary new technology.

Corey Cummings

Corey is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he received degrees in English and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Chicago and enjoys alternately obsessing over video games that aren't out yet and crazy gadgets he can't afford.