This new toy, which came out at the beginning of this month, was designed for the Xbox 360, to make it more accessible to people who don’t normally play videogames–and in response to the somewhat stale gaming market, to allow for new and creative game designs to come out.
And to make people look silly in their living rooms.
The thing is, it connects to the 360 using a USB port. Know what the first letter of USB stands for? Universal. It can plug in to a computer too.
That, coupled with the fact that it’s well-equipped to interface with humans, makes the Kinect extremely attractive to white-hat hackers. White hats are the ones who don’t hack into the CIA to help terrorists; they’re the ones who hack videogame-console accessories to do stuff like this:
He does it with two Kinects as well, which does an almost-complete scan of his room.
At first Microsoft wasn’t too keen on the idea of people tampering with their product. Then they got with the program; the modern model for software design is to leave everything pretty much open for users to modify. It’s a kind of chaotic model, because there will be so many customizations for any given product–but sometimes you find a guy like the one in the video above (also featured in this New York Times article I read).
But that’s just the business model; let’s talk about the real model here: gesture interface is where the future is at. A system like the above one, which can smoothly translate a real room into a virtual room–complete with the user inside of it–has enormous potential for a gesture interface. What the industry currently lacks is an optimized design for an operating system which fluently uses gestures to interface with users. We’ve seen it in movies for ages. And if we can do it right, it would in theory be even faster than keyboards and mice. Here’s one more video, if you’re not burnt out.
This OS is called G-Speak. It’s real. Did you even watch Minority Report?!
By the way. The Kinect hacker I’ve been talking about is named Oliver Kreylos. This is his website. It’s old school, but scroll down to “Kinect Hacking.” For also cool stuff, look in to “Wiimote Hacking.” Both pages have a “download” link at the bottom, so you can download the software he’s working with and do this yourself.