Thursday, November 11, 2010

Open Kinect Hacked; Driver Released

oreseeing the potential of Xbox 360's Kinect motion controller in the field of engineering research, as user interface alternative and for robotics, DIY electronics company Adafruit Industries had recently posted a $1,000 bounty to the hacker community in its quest for reverse engineered open source driver. Kinect's ability to detect both motion and depth, and to translate the same into raw data was recognised by Adafruit, who then bumped up the bounty to $2000 after the media gave them coverage. After a blip of hope on the challenge, the bounty was raised further to $3000. 

Adafruit have verified a working hack from a member in the hacking community named Hector. The RAW data for the Kinect, as mentioned in the challenge, was captured on a Linux laptop using the OpenGL API. The best part is that the driver has completely been unshackled from the Xbox and onto the open source Linux platform, which should free it up for every conceivable application. 

Adafruit mentions that Hector will use the $3000 prize to buy more hacking gear for his team. Considering Microsoft's thinly veiled legal threat, Adafruit has donated another $2000 to the Internet and consumer rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which should cover the subsequent legal tangles. This is excellent news for the open source technology, as the reverse engineered Kinect opens up unprecedented possibilities for the use of Kinect in many open source and homebrew applications.