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

Microsoft has just released its Kinect camera, a USB device that allows you to control your computer with gestures. It incorporates a motorized pivot, an RGB camera, depth-sensor and multi-array microphone "which provides full-body 3D motion capture, facial recognition, and voice recognition capabilities."

The Adafruit Industries people are offering a $2,000 bounty to the first person to write a fully open/free set of drivers for the Kinect so that it can be used as a peripheral in other hardware projects.

The bounty started out as $1,000, but the Adafruit folks doubled it after a Microsoft spokesdrone told CNet that they would "work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant."

The Open Kinect project - THE OK PRIZE - get $2,000 bounty for Kinect for Xbox 360 open source drivers (now $2k)


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

  2. 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!

    1. i’ll throw a couple hundred quid in the pot too. that plus 3 protectors onto a curved surface. droool.

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. classic01,

      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. 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 :)

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. “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.

  9. 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.

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. “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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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