2,500 teams of students will have the opportunity to build a remote-controlled Kinect-powered robot over the next six weeks. The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition kicked off on Saturday, and sees students worldwide working towards a fully built robot. During the autonomous period of the competition, students will control their robots using sensor input and commands — utilizing Microsoft's Kinect depth and speech features.

We've seen examples of Kinect-controlled Robot use before, last year's FIRST competition also included some examples using the unofficial drivers, but students receive a Kinect sensor and the Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) this time around. Microsoft's commercial SDK is also on the horizon, enabling businesses to deliver Kinect-powered apps, and we'll likely see the Kinect effects of Microsoft's new platform throughout the course of 2012.