$2K bounty for free/open Kinect drivers (Microsoft thinks this is illegal!)


32 Responses to “$2K bounty for free/open Kinect drivers (Microsoft thinks this is illegal!)”

  1. hbl says:

    This reminds me of the guy at TED who used the WiiMote to proof of concept a $50 whiteboard for developing nations. I don’t recall Nintendo pissing in their tighty whities about that.

    I like the idea of taking something that’s sole purpose is to waste the time of (sorry, entertain) millions of privileged people who can afford to buy it, and repurposing it to altruistic ends.

    Personally, I’d like to install one above my door, so the door will only unlock for those who have learned the special key-code dance. I’d love to see my grandma do the robot!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it amazing that no one at big companies ever want to sell *more* of their expensively-developed but easily-made goods?

    It’s like they don’t want to make money.

    Also, for American publicly-traded companies (ie. Microsoft) a case could be made that the mandate to maximize shareholder value means they should explicitly allow this sort of thing. Any activist shareholders who happen to be good lawyers want to take it on?

    I wonder how many spare wiimotes are out there. I’ve seen a lot of projects.

  3. classic01 says:

    So… Microsoft will use legal action to block us from interfacing their own OS (Windows 7) with their own hardware (kinetic).

    In what crazy licensing scheme did they forbid developers from writing their own drivers?

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s what you get when vendors subsidise their hardware. They have to lock it down so people don’t use it for non-revenue-generating purposes.

    • Michael Smith says:


      More likely OSS drivers to interface any OS with Microsoft hardware. I could be in trouble. I have a microsoft USB mouse which I have used with Linux.

  4. Tweeker says:

    “A private company secretly compiling data on you with a voluntarily purchased device for the purpose of maximizing their profit is something else.”

    Private companies sell data to government routinely. Nobody needs to bother with a warrant or subpoena for data you can just buy from a firm trying to maximize their profit.

  5. RedShirt77 says:

    Welcome to America, the land of freedom, where you can’t own music, a book, your home, and you cannot use your electronics for uses not intended by the manufacturer.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The HiE-D Tehcnolgy was first that Kinect or Natal Project
    I have two Patents PCT, you can see in this links:
    this device is for all systems PC, MAC and Linux.

    Was try for more that 4000 people in 4 countries



    The HiE-D tehcnology no requiered cameras, but you can have all the control in X, Y, Z in real time from 15 cm to 11 mts.



  7. Anonymous says:

    I will also contribute to a fund around this project.

  8. zyodei says:

    They should crowdsource this price: it is a perfect use for thepoint.com.. users pledge an amount to be disbursed when and if a set target is met. If it is not met, no credit cards are charged. I would drop a twenty spot to see some Linux drivers for this :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well look out

    Well I’m sick
    I’m so sick
    Of a lot of people
    Tryin’ to tell me
    What I can and can’t do
    With my life

    And I’m tired
    I’m so tired
    Of a lot of people
    In a lot of high places
    Don’t want you and me
    To enjoy ourselves

    Well I’m through with people
    Who can’t get off their arse
    To help themselves change this government
    And better this society
    ‘Cos it’s shit

    But hold on a second
    I smell burning
    And I see a change
    Comin’ ‘round the bend
    And I suggest to you
    That it takes
    Just five seconds
    Just five seconds
    Of decision
    To realise
    That the time
    Is right
    To start thinkin’ about
    A little…

  10. Johnny Justice says:

    I guess Microsoft don’t want to sell more units to people who aren’t interested the shovelware they’re putting out for it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    A home-made high quality, single, or two camera motion capture setup would be AMAZING.

  12. Talara says:

    I’m hoping that someone is able to turn the Kinect into a DIY motion capture gizmo. I’d love to be able to MoCap my own stuff from the comfort of my living room, without having to spend thousands of dollars.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “product safety groups” !?!? And how, exactly, is a non-MS driver a safety danger?!?! Sheesh…

  14. Chris Tucker says:

    Mac OS X drivers, please!

  15. Anonymous says:

    someday, people in large corporations will figure out how the Internet and technology works. And on that day, they will commit ritual suicide

  16. Anonymous says:

    I say eff you see kay!!! to microsoft, you are a bunch of hypocritical loosers who use lynx as an integral part of your operating system, but no one would know because you hide it like little capitalists, with everything to hide, and everything to gain. Hiding your source so that adobe and other software companies can’t write proper coad whooops did i write that so you couldn’t read it proper……? did your brain crash. I wish software and hardware companies would write for the big three not the big two….linux is as viable as apple, and windows, works…then it dosnt. booooo to the bounty, lets make a bounty to crack microsofts source…. lets expose them as they really are…takers of things not makers.

  17. techjunkie12 says:

    Does it bother anyone else that the camera has a face recognition system. What happens if Mircosoft starts compiling data on each of us. Seem a little to much like big brother to me.

    • codesuidae says:

      A Big Brother move would be a government-mandated observation system for the purpose of establishing or maintaining authoritarian control of society.

      A private company secretly compiling data on you with a voluntarily purchased device for the purpose of maximizing their profit is something else.

  18. Derek C. F. Pegritz says:

    Screw Linux–if someone writes some drivers that will let me use the Kinect to manipulate my Win7 desktop via a pseudo-Minority Report Interface structure, *I* will pay him/her $2000!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The Borgotavian Government is offering 12 000 cucuruci to the person who can use the Kinect to control our herds of wild donkeys. (Yes, we know that sun interferes with the Kinect, it is a non-issue as there’s no sun in Borgotavia)

  20. vic.vermouth says:

    I’m pretty sure I actually support the following stance, but sometimes I just get contrarian urges and can’t distinguish between the two. Especially when I read some of Cory’s posts, I feel like people like him are just waiting on the sidelines for someone to come up with fantastic, disruptive technology, and then they want to rip it away from the creator and deliver it to the masses. I don’t know if it’s entitlement or what. My vocab and retorts aren’t that good, I’m aware Cory/Antinous could rip anything I say in twain. I think the right way to do it is to encourage the development of an open-source alternative, not to take someone’s proprietary achievement and force it into the open. Get out your arduino’s, write some code, and go to town with it. I’m sure there are hundreds of PhD theses out there who’ve tried to accomplish something similar, that’s a great starting point. These guys have done a lot more than string together commodity parts and make an input device though, they’ve put millions of dollars and years of manhours to develop the AI and the signal processing to make this feasible. You shouldn’t paint them as villains for wanting to protect it. If you were to make a post like this once their product is nearing obsolescence, then hell yeah, I’m all for it. They’ve made their money and moved onto the next iteration, I’m all for reclaiming tech detritus.

    • codesuidae says:

      You shouldn’t paint them as villains for wanting to protect it.

      Producing drivers so the hardware can be purchased for use on officially unsupported systems isn’t an attack that they must protect themselves from.

      Nothing is being ‘ripped away from the creator’ here. They made cool hardware and set it up to use on the operating system they intend to sell the hardware for.

      That’s cool. It would be cooler if they could publish some more info about how to make it work on other systems, even if they aren’t interested in supporting themselves, but I understand that that isn’t always (or even usually) practical or possible.

      What is uncool is if they deliberately put up opposition to people who use what they are selling in ways they don’t support.

      • Xingularity says:

        “Producing drivers so the hardware can be purchased for use on officially unsupported systems isn’t an attack that they must protect themselves from.

        Nothing is being ‘ripped away from the creator’ here. They made cool hardware and set it up to use on the operating system they intend to sell the hardware for.”

        Don’t forget that console hardware is often sold as a “loss leader”. Consoles cost more to produce than the US$399 (or A$549 – what?) that you, the consumer, will pay. Companies like Microsoft will do this because they know it will lead to profits later on in the form of licencing fees, online subscriptions and so on. If you’re not providing them with these future profits, you’re destroying their business model, so I can understand why they would want to prevent it.

        This doesn’t make opposition to such hacks in any way acceptable, however.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I too would like to donate funds to the “Up Yours for Hating Creative People, Microsoft” fund. I (and plenty of others) am happy to put my money where my mouth is.

  22. enkiv2 says:

    I am beginning to suspect that Microsoft’s hardware division business plan is the following: produce expensive hardware with nonstandard and undocumented interface schemes, make press releases to goad the open source community into buying tonnes of units in order to reverse them and write drivers, change the protocol for the next release, rinse and repeat. What would be preferable to writing a driver is reverse engineering and improving the hardware and firmware then releasing that openly.

  23. Ambiguity says:

    I’m thinking that perhaps someone needs to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise, say, $4000 to prevent this from happening.

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