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Google Employee Offering Cash for Kinect Apps

Google employee Matt Cutts said last week that it's time again for a new Microsoft Kinect contest. Offering two $1000 (USD) prizes, he wants to see one person or team create an open-source app, demo or program using Kinect while another person or team creates a toolset that will make it easy to write Kinect-based programs on Linux.

"To get your ideas flowing, I’ll offer a few suggestions," he said in a blog post. "Let’s start with the second contest: making the Kinect more accessible. In my ideal world, would-be hackers would type a single command-line, e.g. 'sudo apt-get install openkinect' and after that command finishes, several tools for the Kinect would be installed."

As for the first app-based contest, he offered a few examples including a Minority Report-style user interface (of course), mounting it to a moving object to reconstruct a 3D model of the user's surroundings, something related to augmented reality and more.

"If I were still in grad school, I’d be incredibly excited--there’s now a $150 off-the-shelf device that provides depth + stereo and a lot more," he said.

Those interested in participating in the contest can leave a comment on Cutts' blog post including a short description of the project and a link. The contest will conclude on December 31, 2010 at midnight Pacific time. "I may ask for outside input on who should be the winner, but I’ll make the final call on who wins," he added.

Last week saw the end of another contest conducted by Adafruit Industries seeking a set of open-source drivers for Microsoft Kinect. Héctor Martín Cantero grabbed the $3000K prize and the Electronic Frontier Foundation landed an additional $2000K donation in the process. Cantero said that he was able to complete the working drivers in just three hours, and published them online here.

Also last week Microsoft expressed its dislike for the new open source drivers.