Kinect hacking is rapidly turning in to the latest test toy for talented and creative developers.
Hackers and developers have been uploading numerous videos to YouTube recently, demonstrating their latest creations. Pradeep Viswav has collected a number of them, and some new videos demonstrate Kinect controlling Windows 7 and an interactive puppet. The Windows 7 demonstration gives you a great idea of how the future of “touch” could be integrated into Windows 8:
The second interesting video is an interactive puppet prototype. Created by Emily Gobeille and Theo Watson, the demo uses the 3D depth tracking of Kinect in combination with the libfreenect Kinect drivers and ofxKinect. The system does skeleton tracking of the arm to determine where the shoulder, eblow and wrist are located. Using your arms you can then control the movement and posture of the virtual bird.
Kinect hacking is only at the very early stages but what’s clear is hackers are demonstrating the potential of the technology for use on PCs. Microsoft recently purchased 3D gesture experts Canesta. Microsoft’s investment in this technology is likely to see them focus heavily on bringing gesture based control to Windows 8. Earlier this year a number of Windows 8 product slides leaked from a HP employee that pointed towards some new product features. Kinect integration, a Windows App Store and fast boot were all promised. Microsoft previously purchased 3DV systems, who also make gesture recognition technology. With the push for this technology in gaming, it’s only natural that Microsoft would also want to port this to Windows.
With Windows 8 approximately two years away from general availability, Microsoft has the time to avoid any potential intellectual property issues and secure a number of key software patents. Canesta has secured 44 patents related to gesture control. Microsoft will likely port a number of improvements to Kinect during this time too. If Microsoft can perfect the technology and control most of the patents then it’s a strong market that the software giant will be dominant in. Hackers will only help refine certain usage scenarios and ideas for the future of the technology.