Free Kinect drivers released; Adafruit pays $3k bounty to hacker, $2k more to EFF

The swell hackers at Adafruit Industries have declared a winner in their cash-prize contest to reverse-engineer the Microsoft Kinekt controller and release a free/open library that would let hardware hackers incorporate it into their own projects. The winner is a fine gent named Hector, who says, "Here's my take on the Kinect driver. Supports depth and RGB images and displays them on an OpenGL window. It's very hacky right now but it does prove the concept :)"

To commemorate Hector's achievement, Adafruit is giving him $3,000 (he's vowed to spend it on more hacking tools), and will donate a further $2,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

WE HAVE A WINNER - Open Kinect driver(s) released - Winner will use $3k for more hacking - PLUS an additional $2k goes to the EFF!


  1. Is this just a feed from the cameras?

    I thought the real cool part of Kinnect was the code for motion capture, voice/face recognition, etc.

    Without access to that stuff, what can the open source community do with this that they cannot do with a cheap webcam?

    1. The depth perception is the major gain, I’d say. I think it’s pretty sensitive. More sensitive than the color gradients in the compressed YouTube video make it seem, at least.

      There’s definitely some amount of processing going on on the console side of things, but it’s processing being done using the depth, video, and likely audio input streams from the Kinect.

    2. The big thing, as far as I can tell, is the depth sensing abilities (highlighted on the left in the video). The depth sensing image would show people and objects as distinct from their background and should be MUCH easier to code into motion capture / face recognizers.

  2. Hmmm… I’ll bet with depth tracking and head tracking you could make any display a 3D screen (at least for one person) using methods similar to johnny lees wiimote stuff

  3. What took you so long! ;-)

    Writing a driver is very labor intensive. But it is to show that there is NOTHING unbreakable or intricate enough for the huge collective and collaborative development process we have with the internet today.

  4. I’m more interested in seeing what people create with this thing then what games are going to use it. Some people have found really interesting ways to use wii hardware.


    Some guy: Ya hi so I bought this Kinect thingy before lunch and then I made a sammidj and anyway here’s a driver

    MS: …what kind of sammidj?

  6. You know what this means?

    Cheap 3D scanning.

    With the depth information you can move around an object and scan it. Slower movement and multiple passes increase fidelity. Using Fourier analysis techniques (the same used in MRI’s) you combine the data to form a 3d image.

    This is much cheaper than a single laser scanner (albeit MUCH less precise) and faster (probably less computationally intensive) and probably more accurate than doing the 3d analysis using a ‘mere’ (web)camera (as can be done now).

    I’m curious to what resolutions can be resolved … and if using the accelerometer data would mean we could scan freehand …

  7. Watch out on the upcoming maker fair. With this gadget you can cut yourself on cnc router

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