Rejecting Microsoft’s Phaseout of the Kinect

You might not be aware unless you’re up on the latest gaming hardware, but Microsoft is trying to kill the Kinect. While the Xbox One famously included it as a mandatory pack-in accessory at launch (this was later abandoned to get the cost down), the latest versions of the system don’t even have the proprietary port to plug it in. For a while Microsoft was offering an adapter that would let you plug it into one of the console’s USB ports, but now even that has been discontinued. Owners of the latest Xbox One consoles who still want to use the Kinect are left to find an adapter on eBay, where the prices have naturally skyrocketed.

Recently [Eagle115] decided to open up his Kinect and see if he couldn’t figure out a way to hook it up to his new Xbox One. The port on the Kinect is a USB 3.0 B female, but it requires 12V to operate. The official Kinect adapter took the form of a separate AC adapter and a “tap” that provided the Kinect with 12V over USB, so he reasoned he could pop open the device and provide power directly to the pads on the PCB.

[Eagle115] bought a 12V wall adapter and a USB 3.0 B cable and got to work. Once the Kinect was popped open, he found that he needed to supply power on pin 10 (which is helpfully labeled on the PCB). There’s just enough room to snake the cable from the AC adapter through the same hole in the case where the the USB cable connects.

With the Kinect getting 12V from the AC adapter, the Xbox has no problem detecting it as if you were using the official adapter. At least for now, they haven’t removed support for the Kinect in the Xbox’s operating system.

The Kinect has always been extremely popular with hackers (it even has its own category here on Hackaday), so it’s definitely sad to see that Microsoft is walking away from the product. The community will no doubt continue pulling off awesome hacks with it; but it’s looking increasingly likely we won’t be getting a next generation Kinect.

[via /r/DIY]

33 thoughts on “Rejecting Microsoft’s Phaseout of the Kinect

  1. In b4 someone laughs at the solder job. :D

    Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to see how easy it is to accomplish. I could see modifying the cable similarly, or even adding a jack to the back of the Kinect instead of leaving the power cable permanently attached. I’ll be doing of one of these three when I finally upgrade to the One X.

    1. Yeah, that initial attempt is without question some of the worst soldering I’ve ever seen in my life. Not even trying to be funny, I don’t know how you can screw it up that bad.

      Does look like he cleaned it up significantly before closing the Kinect back up at least.

    1. I made this mod myself last week and can confirm that it is detected by the PC. I did have problems with some apps refusing to see the Kinect unless it was plugged in at boot time but this may have something to do with the USB3 Chipset.

      1. Would that be an ASMEDIA USB 3 HOST Chip every motherboard I see these on now I disable in bios, had an incident with their chips a while back until they released a firmware to fix it but the default HID driver and even their proprietary one were causing systems to lock up, the Firmware stopped the lockup but added a slow down effect to the machine.

      1. I did a battery powered project with Kinect 2, and I can say it takes a ton of current! It’s about 30 watts. Not sure if the USB 3.0 spec can handle that, but the 2.0 spec is somewhere about .5 watts.

    1. Do you have a link?
      Also, this connector is a USB standard. It’s USB 3.1 Powered B. It’s an extensible format that allows for arbitrary current on the 9/10 pins. I just haven’t found anything that is exposed even as a barrel connector or similar to do the injecting.

      1. My guess is that is the exact reason, Apple bought them, doesn’t want to license it out to anyone since it is the same tech they are using for face id. If they don’t license it to anyone, no one can make a face id equivalent on other phone platforms.

        I’m not quite sure how licensing law works, but if Apple were willing to license it to MS for kinect, then Samsung might be able to make a claim in court if Apple flat out refused to license it to Samsung, no matter the cost.

        1. Having Apple buy Primesense probably didn’t help(though if Kinect had actually been a success on the Xbox I’m sure they would have tried harder to keep in alive); but the tech as used in the Kinect isn’t really much of a threat to phones: The Kinect, without a host device, is about the size of a DynaTAC and likely draws at least as much power. I doubt Apple would be crying too hard if Samsung had the option of incorporating that into their phones.

          The Kinect does have advantages over the phone-sized stuff; room size coverage; capacity to track multiple users rather than a single face, etc. but PrimeSense must have wrung some significant improvements out of it between Kinect and the present day for it to fit in handsets.

        1. udif is right. The Kinect One (the second Kinect) was based on technology partly acquired via buying Canesta and another firm I cannot recall. It is Time of Flight vs structured light in the original Kinect.

        2. Microsoft tried developing their own 2 years before first Kinect, they dumped >$1B, failed, and licensed technology from PrimeSense at the last minute.
          Kinect for x one is what first Kinect was supposed to be.

  2. Now if only someone could source a replacement fuse for the Kinect. I’m not sure what causes them to blow but I see dead ones on ebay all the time. I was unable to locate a replacement and had to just bridge across the fuse to bring my kinect back to life. I don’t really like doing that if I can help it.

  3. Here’s an idea:

    How about we stop buying stuff from these kinds of companies so that we don’t have issues like these forced down our throats? They make garbage because people buy garbage.

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