Microsoft excited about Kinect hacking community

By on November 22, 2010, 8:00 AM
It looks like Microsoft has finally realized the potential that Kinect hacking has for the device’s popularity. After initially talking up the numerous safeguards it had taken to reduce the chances of product tampering and promising to work closely with law enforcement to keep Kinect unlock-resistant, Microsoft has now changed its tune, claiming that the motion sensing accessory was left open on purpose.

Speaking on NPR's Science Daily program, director of incubation for Xbox, Alex Kipman, said that Kinect was left open by design and clarified that fans tinkering with it and enabling new uses would not result in a legal action. The company made a clear distinction of what constitutes “hacking” in their eyes and what doesn’t, basically saying that obtaining algorithms inside the Xbox or employing a third device between the sensor and Xbox for means of cheating is off limits, but using an open source driver to read inputs from the sensor on a PC is not. In fact, they are excited to see that people are so inspired by Kinect to think about what they can create using its 3D capturing capabilities.

So far the gamer and developer communities have found numerous alternative uses for Kinect already, including as a controller for Minority Report-style multi-touch, 3D object scanning and manipulation, and even for use in robotics. You can check out a bunch of videos of people doing pretty creative things with Kinect over at kinecthacks.net.





User Comments: 13

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Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I'm glad to see Microsoft embracing the open source community's efforts and not trying to legally bend them to their will like the RIAA, MPAA, Apple, etc. Oh, man, just imagine if Kinect WERE an Apple product! Microsoft knows that it can make more friends (and money) by encouraging this kind of openness.

Regenweald said:

Kinect is the beginning of a PC revolution and when i say PC, I mean Apple too I can't wait for the Kinect2 - maybe higher recognition at less than 8 ft ? Could really catapult spatial desktops to a mainstream reality...

Guest said:

MS 1st response was of rage / frustration at the Kinect being used outside of MS will... now the change of heart. I think it boiled down to A) Possible Backlash, and B) no "hacking" of the kinect to place (as in no alteration) which limits there legal response.

Either way, I think MS is doing the right thing now

Leeky Leeky said:

I knew they'd figure out earning money off of the back of it would be better than spending 10 times more in court!

Hargert said:

Yes the next gen version of this could be amazing. Release a PC version with can do finger tracking , run at a better frame rate and get rid of the limited lag and you have a real winner..

Johny47 said:

They should be excited, if those clever hackers didn't do this I really doubt Microsoft would have even thought of bringing it to PC/Mac =/

This is what hackers should be doing instead of making dumb viruses that ruin alot of PC's, hacking to advance stuff =P

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think they just figured out they couldn't really do anything to stop them. And I'd hope they start embracing the community more and look at some of these developers for future projects with the Kinect, some of the stuff I've seen is pretty awesome. It still has so much untapped potential imo.

Now give me a LIGHTSABER game Lucas Arts! =P

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Johny47 said:

This is what hackers should be doing instead of making dumb viruses that ruin alot of PC's, hacking to advance stuff =P

That's what hacking is actually all about, the media unfortunately uses it in a pejorative manner most of the time hence no one ever thinking of it as something good.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Now give me a LIGHTSABER game Lucas Arts! =P

That's already in the works Relic

edison5do said:

I knew they'd figure out earning money off of the back of it would be better than spending 10 times more in court!

100 thumbs Up for that my friend!

Guest said:

This isn't youTube. Haha.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Once again, Microsoft does a complete 180 and makes it sound like they planned it that way from the start... heh. Ah well, more power to them, I say! At least they are now fostering independent thought, and I'm sure they are watching closely to see what they can learn from hackers and innovators for the next Kinect. And for a PC version (close field).

Me, I'm imagining a close-field Kinect coupled with a set of motion tracking viewing eyewear (like the Vuzix stuff). Put those together, you would have a fully immersive 3D environment, with the Kinect detecting your input (rather than the old clunky gloves and other paraphernalia used for virtual reality in the past)

Guest said:

You know porn valley has BIG plans for this thing. Lol

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