Hector Marcan released his open source Kinect drivers today, winning the $3,000 bounty from Adafruit Industries. Ada Fruit, a New York based company that sells DIY electronics kits, issued the bounty for open source Kinect drivers last Thursday. Marcan's drivers have been tested by other hackers. He says he plans to use the $3,000 to purchase additional tools and devices for Team Twiizers, the hardware hacking group he's a member of. Adafruit is donating an additional $2,000 to the EFF.Hardware hacker
Access to Kinect from the desktop opens up some intriguing opportunities. Marshall explored some of ideas about using it to control the Internet of Things and, of course, advertising and interactive retail. But what projects would YOU like to undertake with such a controller?
For those unaware, Kinect is a gestural interface for Microsoft's X-Box 360. It enables users to play games through gestures, spoken commands or by presenting objects or images. So far, it's only available for X-Box, but rumor has it support for Kinect is being built into Windows 8. Some hackers don't want to wait to get started working with it, so Adafruit offered the bounty.
There's not much precedent for special hardware controllers in web development, though some VRML users were known to don headsets and Power Gloves back in the day. But what sort of new interfaces might be enabled, either on the web or on the desktop, but such new technology? My first thought is that this could be a boon to those with physical disabilities.
Those interested in hacking on Kinect can join OpenKinect Google Group, but be warned: CNET reports that Microsoft is not happy about the bounty. Mircosoft built numerous "safeguards" into Kinect, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET. "Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant."