Microsoft Robotics @ Home Competition

It all starts with an idea of an @ home robot, concepts can already be submitted

Starting on December 7, 2011, 10 finalists of Microsoft’s Robotics @ Home Competition will get the chance to bring their robot concept to life, and get a shot at winning some of the $18,400 in prizes from the Redmond company.

Of course, they’ll first need to get past round one of the challenge that went live on September 17.

But in all fairness, the Robotics @ Home Competition’s first round should be a walk in the park. All users with a cool idea for an @home robot can participate by simply detailing the concept PPT, PDF or Word Doc and submitting it via the website that the software giant set up.

It’s always an excellent idea to read the official rules before embarking on such an endeavor. According to the contest’s terms, only residents of the United States will be able to participate in the Robotics @ Home Competition.

“If your concept is picked, you could be one of 10 finalists who will be loaned a real robot that you can use to bring your concept to life. If you are chosen as one of the finalists, your second challenge will be to submit a video of your robot in action. A grand prize winner will be selected and awarded up to $10,000!” the company said.

In addition to the $10,000 Grand Prize, Microsoft is also offering a First Prize of $5,000, a $3,000 Second Prize and two Honorable Mentions, $200 online credit from sponsor Parallax.

“We have created three main categories for you to use as a guide for @home robot usage scenarios. You can submit as many entries for as many categories as you’d like, as long as each entry is unique – but only one entry may be selected to advance to Round 2 of the competition.

Consumer Usage Scenarios: Examples - Gaming, Video, Music, Security, Productivity, Education, etc.

Human Robot Interaction: Examples - Gestures, Speech, Behaviors, Skeletal Tracking, Face Detection, etc.

Autonomous Navigation: Examples - Smart Drive, SLAM, Metric Maps, Obstacle Detection, etc.”

Those interested in participating in Microsoft’s Robotics @ Home Competition can submit their ideas by November 30. If selected to be among the finalists, participants will get a robot to tinker with until March 31, 2012.

They can use technologies such as Kinect and the Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 Beta.

Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 Beta is available for download here.

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