The Kinect: Cheap sci-fi for real.

Very recently, Microsoft released the SDK for the Kinect, that piece of motion-sensing goodness that hackers have been using for all sorts of interesting projects, such as home automation. Some doctors are even using it while performing surgery. This means that Microsoft saw that everyone was hacking the Kinect.

Yeah, that image is not very fun to look at. But when you hit play, you’re gonna
be watching Kinect hacks, I promise.

And instead of getting all flustered about it (like some companies would), they decided to make it even easier. Releasing the software development kit for Kinect basically means the mechanics, who were originally trying to do all this customizing work blind, will be given a complete toolbox. Which is pretty sweet.

NPR wrote an article about this today, and proposed a question: why is this just catching on now?

Their point is that this technology has been around for a long time. So why did something like the Kinect make it popular?

This one has an easy answer, though.

  • First off, Microsoft is big. Real big. That’s pretty obvious. They make the most popular operating system in the world, and have been around for a long time (in terms of computers). They made the Kinect, so it’s got a big name behind it.
  • Second, the Xbox 360. It’s about the most popular gaming console in America and Europe, if not the most. Kinect was made for the 360.
  • Third, the Kinect was made with USB so it could connect to a 360. USB stands for universal serial bus. Universal, as in, you can plug it in to your PC.
  • Fourth, the Kinect is cheap. Just over $100, and you get a full-color (RGB) camera which runs at a constant 30 frames per second, and at a decent resolution of 640 by 480 pixels. You get a depth-sensing infared camera which runs at the same settings. And you get a microphone. So basically, it can effectively capture anything a human does with their body.

The reason the Kinect got popular is because it provides all the sci-fi coolness that had already been around for a while, but it does it in a way that can be easily used. It’s cheap, and anyone with even a laptop can hack it if they want.

Releasing the SDK probably helped.

Here’s the long-story short. Just search on google or youtube “cool kinect hacks.” Some of them are silly, but most of them are awesome. And almost all of them can be implemented in an awesome way.

Read what I read:



One thought on “The Kinect: Cheap sci-fi for real.

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