Remember move-in day back in college? You wait in ten different lines, get all kinds of cards, passes, sign papers, see your room listed in some location you have never been before, and then you dash into your dorm room to get the bed by the window. That's what it's like here today at the Kinect Accelerator. Since we are running the program at a Microsoft building in Seattle, every founder needs a building card-key. Once in hand, all the founders will be official card carrying members of the inaugural 2012 Kinect Accelerator class. That means “Road Trip” to Microsoft's main campus in Redmond using the handy Microsoft “Connector” shuttle (which we are temporarily renaming the “Kinector” for this ride). Shh, we are also making a surprise stop at the “Employee Only” part of the Microsoft Company Store. Membership in this exclusive club has its benefits!
In addition, teams are finding their spots (pictures coming later), which mostly consist of 4 desktops in a cube with low walls facing each other. All of the teams will be learning together in the same space (and since the hours are long, you can read that as living together), and just like dorm rooms back in those college days, everybody is jockeying for the best space. Waiting for them are Xbox software development kits, Kinect for Windows sensors, and BizSpark membership to equip the teams with any and all Microsoft software they'll need as they embark on this period of technical training and business guidance. Oh, and a little goody bag filled with fun SWAG to boot.
On the main http://KinectAccelerator.com site you can see a quick snapshot of each of the companies. The details are light on each company right now because we are just getting started. During the first two weeks, the companies will meet dozens of mentors and begin to foster relationships with a few that mesh with their teams. The interaction between the teams and these mentors will refine the focus of the companies, their business concepts and development skills. Due to this process, the product and focus of these companies coming in, and what comes out after 90 days may be very different. So we won't be saying much about the companies right now, but stay tuned.
One exciting aspect is that we have companies here from all around the world: France, Canada, Argentina, Germany, Boston, LA, New York, Seattle and Hadley, Massachusetts. It's going to be quite a cultural mix, which will certainly enhance the creativity of the teams. Companies from over 63 countries applied to the Kinect Accelerator, demonstrating that NUI innovation has no boundaries.
We have two big screen TVs with Xboxes and Kinect, and every Kinect title produced to date. This will surely lead to some late night ”training” this week. One of the best ways to get in the groove of creating compelling Kinect apps, whether they are games or not, is to fire up an Xbox and start playing the games. Even pragmatic healthcare and retail solutions have a game feel to them when you are dealing with a gesture-based UI. This is more fun than any dorm I remember.
Welcome to the 11 Kinect Accelerator teams. Let's get moved in and get busy!