Today, Microsoft is announcing eleven finalists in the ultimate Kinect hacking showdown: a spot in a TechStars-backed accelerator just for Kinect-based ideas.

Kinect hacks have been something we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, and it turns out Microsoft has been equally interested. The spring class for the new accelerator brings in talent from around the globe, with participants from France, Argentina, Germany, Canada, and a few cities across the United States.

“We were greatly impressed by the quality and breadth of applications we received, and are excited to share more about the finalists and the program in the coming weeks,” a company representative writes on the site.

The founders are already convening at Microsoft’s huge Seattle campus to get ready for an intensive program that includes a $20,000 investment to kick off development, an Xbox development kit, a Kinect for Windows sensor plus the accompanying SDK, and office space and training. The accelerator will end with a de rigeur Demo Day in front of press and investors in just three months’ time.

So, who are the lucky eleven? Microsoft received nearly 500 applications from folks in 63 countries. Their ideas spanned nearly 20 unique verticals, from healthcare and education to retail and entertainment. Here’s who made the cut:

  • Kimetric (stealth mode), Buenos Aires
  • Zebcare (stealth mode), Boston
  • Ubi, Munich: a plug-and-play gesture control solution that can turn any existing display into a 3D touchscreen
  • Freak’n Genius, Seattle: lets anyone animate in real time using the Kinect
  • GestSure, Ontario: gestural, touchless interfaces for the operating room
  • Ikkos, Seattle: a training system for learning movement patterns very quickly and accurately using the magic of neuroplasticity
  • Jintronix, Montreal: a virtual reality hardware/software system designed to enhance rehabilitation for patients suffering from a wide variety of motor-control deficiencies
  • Manctl, Lyon: an ultra low-cost 3D scanner based on Kinect
  • NConnex, Hadley, Mass.: Kinect-based applications on Windows platform in domains such as e-commerce, smart home, healthcare, elder-care and education
  • Styku, Los Angeles: body scanning application for virtual fitting rooms using Microsoft’s Kinect and Asus’ Xtion devices
  • Voxon, New York City: a true volumetric 3D display for artists, cinematographers, game designers, and tinkerers

We’ll be keeping an eye on these companies and their Kinect-based products over the summer, so stay tuned.

Top image courtesy of Kiselev Andrey Valerevich, Shutterstock

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