Only a few days after a reward was offered to the first person to hack a Kinect and make it output data and video to other platforms, it looks like the deed has been done.
On the same day that Microsoft's Kinect hit store shelves, a company called Adafruit Industries offered a $2000 reward to the first person or team to make the device provide "RGB out with distance values" that could be used by other platforms and operating systems. Microsoft wasn't thrilled with the idea, issuing a thinly veiled threat about "working closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant," but despite that ominous tone it only took about three days for one enterprising individual to get the job done.
An electrical engineer by the name of "AlexP" took the challenge on as a "research project" over the weekend and posted a video of his hack on the NUI Group forum yesterday, showing the device outputting color and depth data to Windows 7. The Adafruit website has yet to confirm that the video is genuine but GamesIndustry claims that "Adafruit representatives were satisfied."
And why go to all this bother? "It's amazing hardware that shouldn't just be locked up for Xbox 360. Its 'radar camera' being able to get video and distance as a sensor input from commodity hardware is huge," Adafruit's Phillip Torrone said in an email to CNET. "We think First Robotics could use this. We think educators could use this. Look at all the cool stuff people did with the Wii remote."
Given AlexP's apparently solid reputation as an engineer and NUI Group administrator, not to mention his earlier work getting the PS3Eye to work with Windows, I can't imagine why he'd bother faking it. Which means that, aside from getting the paperwork straight, all that's left now is to see how Microsoft responds. Could it undertake some kind of legal action against this "tampering?" Will it? Stayed tuned!