Microsoft unwittingly created quite the hacking cottage industry when it first introduced Kinect. Though it took awhile for the company to come to grips with the amazing inventions enabled by its sensor bar, Redmond eventually released Kinect for Windows. Now, the Kinect Accelerator program is here to take Kinect development even further. Kinect Accelerator is a three-month long incubator of sorts for folks with Kinect-basted start-ups. It works by providing the chosen ones with mentors from Microsoft Research, Microsoft Studios, Kinect for Windows and the Xbox team to provide support and knowledge to refine and improve their Kinect apps. Additionally, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs will be available to give advice help the teams craft business plans to help them become profitable.

We had the opportunity to chat with Craig Eisler -- who heads up the Kinect for Windows team and is heavily involved with Kinect Accelerator -- about this new venture. Eisler told us that Microsoft's been planning the program since last summer after witnessing all the Kinect innovations that have been percolating organically. So, the Accelerator gives Microsoft the opportunity to find some of the best ideas and speed up their development. Microsoft wound up receiving almost 500 applicants to the program, and winnowing it down to a final 11 was no easy task -- the final 50 ideas were apparently all quite good, and the initial plan was to only take ten into the program.

The 11 who made the cut hail from across the globe (US, Canada, Argentina, France, and Germany), and will receive $20,000 and office space, plus Kinect hardware and development software to get their ideas off the ground. Unfortunately, we couldn't get Eisler to tell us exactly what each team is working on, but he did say they'll benefit the medical, retail, fashion, and even farm industries when all is said and done. Specifics about the inventions will come later, once the mentors have worked their magic and the apps are closer to their final forms, so stay tuned. You can learn more about the Kinect Accelerator and the chosen teams at the source link below and PR after the break.