Microsoft is sponsoring a robotics design contest known as Robotics @Home. They write:
Here’s your chance to show us what you’ve got. Describe that cool idea to us in a PPT, PDF or Word Doc and submit it. If your concept is picked, you could be one of 10 finalists to receive 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!
You can read the contest rules and details at the contest website.
This contest involves using the Microsoft® Robotics Developer Studio 4 Beta software which is a freely available .NET-based programming environment for building robotics applications by both professional and non-professional developers as well as hobbyists. This latest release has support for the Kinect sensor and a defined Reference Platform. Open source? No, but free and if you’re into robotics you may want give it a look.