Open source Kinect drivers for PC arrive, $3,000 bounty won

By on November 11, 2010, 9:31 AM
The NUI Group posted its Kinect motion controller hacking results first, and is now working on an SDK and Windows drivers to enable all the capabilities of the peripheral. That will all be released as open source once the group's $10,000 donation fund is filled up.

In the meantime, hacker Hector Martin has coded his own drivers (three hours after the European launch of the Kinect) and has released his results and code over on Marcansoft. He's simply displaying the pulled data from the IR and RGB cameras, but it still means you can plug your Kinect into your PC and have some fun (assuming you understand the raw code). Bill gates would be proud. The video below shows Martin's work, which he pulled off without even owning an Xbox 360:

Martin has won $3,000 for being the first person to successfully create the open source drivers. Last week, open source hardware developer Adafruit Industries offered $1,000 to the first person or team to complete the task, and after Microsoft said it did not "condone the modification of its products," Adafruit upped the bounty to $2,000, and later to $3,000.

"Hector has decided to invest this bounty into hacking tools and devices for a group of people he works with closely (e.g. iPhone Dev Team members, Wii hacker team Team Twiizers, and a few others)," the company said in a statement. "They don't have much expendable income to buy tools and devices to hack, and sometimes this hobby can be a bit expensive, this will be a good investment that will allow them to hack more and newer devices."

Microsoft has dismissed all these achievements as "hacks" and is instead rightfully saying that these are merely drivers. That being said, the progress is phenomenal considering for how little time the Kinect has been available for.





User Comments: 35

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Puiu Puiu said:

as long as microsoft doesn't sue them like apple does then by all means go for it! i still don't understand why a PC version of kinect or something similar wasn't released by them. there is meaning in being first.

Se7enVII said:

If these drivers improve and we see open-source frameworks to interact w/ Kinect I'm definitely going to have to get one.

treetops treetops said:

Crazy I bought a xbox 360 a few months ago just for connect I wonder how long its gonna take before I can use kinect on pc ^^

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Nice work getting the drivers so soon.

Will be interesting to see what applications and stuff people can make for the Kinect running on a PC.

TwiztidSef said:

Nice, they did some pretty crazy things with the Wii hardware. Can't wait to see what this brings. Weird thing is, these hacking teams may be able to get PS3 hardware working with Xbox hardware at this rate.

Demons said:

A Kinect for your PC eh? Well, I thought Microsoft would get around to it eventually but it's nice to see someone take matters into their own hands. If I had a Kintect, I would try it out for sure!

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Yeah I have a feeling Microsoft not going to start suing anybody and everybody. It's really not good PR and Microsoft can afford that right now.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That is pretty cool, I think MS should be happier, if some practical use of Kinect on PC can be found, after all they will be making more money.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I would expect MS to release a PC version of the Kinect, something you'd mount to the top of your monitor. Not necessarily for gaming, but more as an input/navigation device.

If done right you'd get a touch screen effect without actually touching the monitor.

DarkProjectWrks said:

What I'd love it to do on pc, is motion capture. For people like myself, who can't afford costly motion capture systems, this would be ideal, and would be something we'd happily shell out for as a cheaper alternative. It's been something I've been hoping for, ever since Bill Gates said about it being used on pc at E3'09.

Guest said:

You people really need to understand something. These people haven't hacked Kinect, and they're not going to. They'll never be able to make Kinect work on PC like it does on 360, because Kinect is a combination of the software in the machine, and the CPU in the 360. You have to have both. You're not going to see a situation where the system can be controlled on a PC like it can on the 360. You certainly won't be able to play games, because Microsoft won't allow it.

All they're doing here is capturing images from the cameras by writing some drivers. But you can't interact with it in the way it was designed.

I suspect Microsoft will include Kinect features in Windows 8 and future operating systems, and make it available at some point in the future.

Johny47 said:

Microsoft should hire this guy, fair play =P

I don't know why kinect isn't on PC aswell as 360 because most of the 360's so called 'exclusives'(haha yeah right =/) are also on PC so I think it would be a good idea, that's IF PC gamers would get it on it.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Johny47 said:

I don't know why kinect isn't on PC aswell as 360 because most of the 360's so called 'exclusives'(haha yeah right =/) are also on PC so I think it would be a good idea, that's IF PC gamers would get it on it.

How many people do you know that have a PC setup with huge screens and at least 6' of open space in front of the desk to use something like the Kinect? (I know, this is probably a loaded question, since the readers of Techspot probably have an unusually high ratio of familiarity with those types of setups). But, the reason Kinect (in its current iteration) isn't on the PC is that it's an economic dead-end. The Kinect is specifically designed for an application that does not mesh well with traditional PC setups. Fact is, the PC customer base that could actually use the current Kinect product is minuscule compared to the Xbox customer base. Even with an HTPC setup (which would technically be the best suited to work with a Kinect), odds are that the HTPC is very graphically underpowered for things like games.

I have no doubt that MS will have a PC variant of the Kinect for gesture interfacing. But it would have to be a different product, with a different field of view, focal point, and driving program.

Hargert said:

I would just want a app for a good HTPC to use motion and voice commands to control it. That is where I see this going in the long run and to give people the system that Microsoft showed that the kinect was going to be but is not.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I could see MS buying/"borrowing" the drivers and integrating them into windows when MS eventually makes an end user version of the Kinect for windows.

bioflex said:

i always thought of the possibility of microsoft bringing kinect to the pc platform.....lets just say they got beat to it by hackers......lol......any way, lets see how useful this device can be.

vangrat said:

Other than gaming, I am trying to see what use I could have for this. Not that I am complaining mind you. Maybe, you could enable tablet mode your pc, then use the kinect, combined with programmed motions, to operate your OS. Thus having something similar to Minority Report. Although an updated GUI for Windows may make this even more useful...

sMILEY4ever said:

This guy must be pretty damn good geek.

Hargert said:

Yes it is a good job to get drivers built so quickly and I would not worry about MS having to use his. I am sure they already have drivers to the device from when they developed it. In fact they have a version that is good enough to read sign language and detect hands and finger positions but it was cut back due to pricing.

Leeky Leeky said:

That is pretty cool, I think MS should be happier, if some practical use of Kinect on PC can be found, after all they will be making more money.

That's my thoughts, either way its win win financially for Microsoft... Especially when the donations that enable it to happen in the first place aren't even going from there pockets.

Though it will be interesting to see Microsoft's reaction.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If only all Sony/MS/Nintendo/PC peripherals were cross-compatible...

There's an Xbox controller for the PC so why not make this compatible for a PC as well?

pinya said:

If only all Sony/MS/Nintendo/PC peripherals were cross-compatible...

There's an Xbox controller for the PC so why not make this compatible for a PC as well?

ditto....

since they are bluetooth.... why not right?

miska_man said:

Can you patent drivers I wonder? If so, this guy should do so TOMORROW just in case Microsoft ever does want to take the Kinect over to the PC. That way they would have to pay him for use of the drivers..

Guest said:

Lucky for the open source community and PC enthusiast that Apple did not get its hands on Kinect. If MS plays its cards right the knowledge and entrepreneur spirit of the internet will make Kinect larger than life in more ways then MS could ever imagine. On the Flip side if Apple was the Kinect owner Steve Jobs would be pulling out his hair and sending out his police / attorney goons to arrest the hackers and sue the bounty payers.

Guest said:

miska_man

are you suggesting microsoft are not capable of making a 'driver' for their own device on their own operating system ? :O lol

spyx said:

Lol this is great i heard microsoft had said that this thing was tamper proof and look at this, this stry has been on the web for about 3 days now i think lucky guy and smart .....sigh......i wish i could do stuff like this

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

sorry didn't read the comments .. but i've read that Kinnect would come to the PC, MS wants this, so i see no point in this hack, except as a challenge & good if rewarded.

cheers!

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Vrmithrax said:

Johny47 said:

I don't know why kinect isn't on PC aswell as 360 because most of the 360's so called 'exclusives'(haha yeah right =/) are also on PC so I think it would be a good idea, that's IF PC gamers would get it on it.

How many people do you know that have a PC setup with huge screens and at least 6' of open space in front of the desk to use something like the Kinect? (I know, this is probably a loaded question, since the readers of Techspot probably have an unusually high ratio of familiarity with those types of setups).

Me! HTPC here...

Vrmithrax said:

But, the reason Kinect (in its current iteration) isn't on the PC is that it's an economic dead-end. The Kinect is specifically designed for an application that does not mesh well with traditional PC setups. Fact is, the PC customer base that could actually use the current Kinect product is minuscule compared to the Xbox customer base. Even with an HTPC setup (which would technically be the best suited to work with a Kinect), odds are that the HTPC is very graphically underpowered for things like games.

$200 vid card and you've got more power than a 360 and can display at 1080p. True about the market for it but why don't they release official drivers and let the market decide? It could really boost the Kinect's adoption and even create this PC market.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Darth Shiv said:

Me! HTPC here...

Same here, but as I said, us Techspot readers are probably ahead of the tech curve compared to the average consumer, so it's sort of a loaded question. I've got the big screen, and plenty of room to use a Kinect.

$200 vid card and you've got more power than a 360 and can display at 1080p. True about the market for it but why don't they release official drivers and let the market decide? It could really boost the Kinect's adoption and even create this PC market.

I pondered this also, but in many cases an HTPC is built in a compact case that won't allow a decent GPU to be added. And, let's be brutally honest here. Microsoft would much rather you spend that $200 buying an Xbox than put it into the pockets of some PC graphics card maker. They'll do what they can to milk as much profit out of Kinect as possible, before branching out other applications. It's the way of the world in consumer electronics, unfortunately.

I'd love to see some official drivers drop out of the Microsoft camp as well, but I honestly think they'll keep them close to the vest until they have no choice. Which is why these hackers are so great: they push companies out of their comfort zones and often force technologies to be officially released far sooner than some profit-minded companies intended, just for damage control.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

one word, algorithms...

Guest said:

Microsoft seems glad that finally see such a free publicity from it's not so high tech new toy gadget.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

You people really need to understand something. These people haven't hacked Kinect, and they're not going to. They'll never be able to make Kinect work on PC like it does on 360, because Kinect is a combination of the software in the machine, and the CPU in the 360. You have to have both. You're not going to see a situation where the system can be controlled on a PC like it can on the 360. You certainly won't be able to play games, because Microsoft won't allow it.

All they're doing here is capturing images from the cameras by writing some drivers. But you can't interact with it in the way it was designed.

I suspect Microsoft will include Kinect features in Windows 8 and future operating systems, and make it available at some point in the future.

Took 2 days for this quote to become wrong. LMAO.

Uvindu said:

Glad to see that there are people who actually support hacking and opensource software. These people should keep it up. This is a great incentive for people to demonstrate their capabilities, no matter how destructive it may seem to firms. Keep it up...

jsquirre said:

check this out.

[link]

in theory this could create a cheap 3d scanner for many applications. 3d rendering crime scenes or crash camera for dangerous intersections ect

Guest said:

While there is meaning in being the first, by having the pc users hack the device first they are taking a ton of the development cost out of it for PC. There are software packages already out for using the Sony Camera's as a motion capture system. Kinect is already on their list. ipisoft.com. I hope to use the Kinect as a sculpting method of 3d modeling with Maya and Lightwave.

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