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Microsoft is looking for a few good Kinect hackers, and it’s turning to TechStars to help discover those teams. Microsoft this week launched the Kinect Accelerator — a new incubation program developed in partnership with TechStars.

Ten teams will be invited to the TechStars’ offices in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood beginning in May for three months where they’ll get $20,000 in cash, turning over six percent of their companies’ equity stake to TechStars. Microsoft will not take an ownership in any of the teams or gain rights to their intellectual property, but it will provide technical guidance, an Xbox SDK, the Kinect for Windows SDK and mentorship.

Obviously, Microsoft also will get to help seed the developer community around Kinect.

“Through this program, Microsoft is supporting entrepreneurs, engineers and innovators like you to bring to life a wide range of business ideas that leverage the limitless possibilities Kinect enables,” Microsoft wrote in an introduction to the program.

David Cohen, co-founder of TechStars, said that Microsoft approached them about nine months ago with the idea.

“We think Kinect is a fantastic technology that applies well beyond gaming and we are very interested in startups that are exploring those frontiers,” Cohen tells GeekWire. He added that TechStars will explore partnerships with other corporate entities.

Like the traditional TechStars’ incubator, participants will present their ideas at a Demo Day to investors, game studios, media and other members of the tech community at the conclusion of the three-month program.  Here are the types of developers that Microsoft and TechStars are looking to attract:

  • Any Kinect-enabled application on Windows or Xbox that can be a commercial business
  • Manufacturing to retail, education to healthcare, art installations to gaming, social to interactive play…hmmm, the possibilities
  • Can be cloud-hosted, on any platform, but needs to be an application
  • Could be one view of an application that may also have a web UI, mobile UI, etc
  • Kinect-controlled applications, like what you have on your phone, but on a big screen or a computer screen
  • Content you might expect to consume in your living room or in an operating room

Here’s a FAQ about the program. Applications are due by January 25th.

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