Microsoft touts "Kinect for Windows"

Microsoft sees Kinect’s presence in non-gaming environments as a huge potential, but it wants you to bring that potential to life.

The software giant has launched a new initiative called the Kinect Accelerator, which will give 10 technology developers and companies a $20,000 stipend to come up with the most creative Kinect application they can.

“We’ve been captivated by the countless creative ways companies worldwide envision how their businesses and industries can be revolutionized with Kinect, and are proud to be helping those companies to explore,” Microsoft wrote in an official blog post.

When Kinect was first announced, Microsoft promised it would change the way people play games. It was supposed to shake the industry to its core. There was all sorts of lofty marketing language to make it sound like it would be the way of the future.

Instead, what we’ve gotten from Kinect has largely been a bunch of slapped-together mini-games that simply come across as Wii games without the physical controller.

At least, that’s what we’ve officially gotten from Microsoft. What people outside of Microsoft have done with the technology more closely lives up to the original promise. There have been artificially intelligent remote-control hovercrafts, sophisticated motion-activated applications, and “smart home” concepts that have captured the imagination of consumers.

Microsoft originally blasted those creative minds, saying they were violating the Kinect’s terms of service, but once the company realized they were actually doing cooler things with Kinect than it was, it decided to see what else the public could come up with.

Thus, the Kinect Accelerator project was born. Companies will be toiling away next year to impress not only Microsoft but spectators and tech savvy minds all around the world. Perhaps this will lead Microsoft to offer more Kinect functionality than basic motion sensing and voice recognition.