A Kinect Primer

Yes, the Kinect is over one year old now, and after some initial unhappiness from [Microsoft], it’s become a hacker’s best friend. [Eric] decided to celebrate this with an Article all about how it works.  If you’re new to this piece of hardware and want to get into working with it, this should be a good hacking introduction.  If you’ve been reading [HAD] lately, you will have noticed this information being used to “build a Kinect bot for 500 bones.”

Some interesting facts in this article include that the Kinect measures 307200 distance point, known as a “point cloud” in the gaming area. From this, it’s able to construct a 3D image of the environment around it and allow interaction. Such interesting hardware didn’t take long to hack after Adafruit announced a $3000.00 bounty to open it up to the masses.  This only took four days to do, making one wonder why, with their incredible resources, [Microsoft] wouldn’t either more effectively lock it down or officially open it to be hacked and modified to begin with. Our vote would be to officially open it up, but no one consulted us on the decision.

10 thoughts on “A Kinect Primer

  1. I think Microsoft has learned a lot from their earlier errors and from how people view the walled garden of Apple. The Kinect was an interesting project overall and I am glad they released it as “unfinished” as they did. Hopefully (actually I know they do) they see Kinect’s usefulness as a dev tool, that gives a different way to tap, drag, and sroll thru files too fast back and forth (pet peeve of mine with the new-fangled interfaces), without the need for a capacitive screen. As for hacks to the 360 itself, I’d wait until this winter with the Bing search feature update. I have a feeling folks may have the softmod killer we have all been waiting for like the old xbox. Nice article and although a year late, I’m finally getting one this xmas to mess with :)

  2. How about a Kinect in every room so that a home automation system can track you and respond to gestures for control? Also if you used a phased microphone array and DSP with your system in each room you could track your head so that the audio processor could take ambient noise free voice input for voice control. Most of the problems with voice recognition in a free environment come from ambient noise. The phased Mic array and DSP would allow you to capture sound from a small region of space. The Kinect would show you where that is to capture just the voice input.

    Too poor myself to try this myself. Can’t even afford the kinect.

  3. Besides Kinect really gig potential and possibilities I’m staing skeptical about its safety.

    It is a laser product after all and being IR laser it does not generate eye reflexes so that way even more dangerous when malfunctioning.

    What I did read that it has inside a quite powerful laser that is diffused over larger area.

    This also means (or I find it logical) that closer to the device it does have more powerful beam that is not yet diffused (enough).

    So my initial idea is that when used in the environment where close eye contact is possible then it would be make serious sense to pair it with safety sensor that would turn Kinect sensor off when something is nearby at the front of it.

    This is actually pitty because Kinect does really make sense as eye of the robot but when you interact with it then when you look it in the eye (as a natural thing when you interact with the human) then it is lasing your eyes at the same very moment.

    1. Im pretty sure the laser is safe. I havent locked closley on the kinect but i have played with diffused lasers and classification. The rules are quite strict if it’s possible to harm the eye by going closer then it would not be allowed to be sold to the public.

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