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Kinect Hacks Could Bring Sci-fi to Your House

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

Kinect Hacks Could Bring Sci-fi to Your House | 40Tech

Microsoft’s Kinect, has already started a mini-revolution in the geeky world of modding. Since hacker Hector Marcan released the open source drivers that he created for Kinect, innovations using the technology have been appearing with speed that can only be described as plaid (my apologies to anyone who didn’t get that reference — and a cookie to the first commenter to identify it).

Some of the more interesting hacks I’ve come across are:

DepthJS (Fluid Interfaces Group) is a Chrome Extension that allows you to do some sci-fi-like web browsing with hand gestures. Make’s Adam Flaherty compared it to Spielberg’s Minority Report.

Interactive Shadow Puppets (Theo Watson) could have a future theatre and children’s entertainment — the kind they watch or do on their own time. The guy also does the entire video with what looks like a beer in hand — which I just found amusing and awesome.

Multitouch with a hacked Kinect is the first thing I was wondering about, especially after watching the DepthJS video. A fellow named floemuc put together a nice proof of concept using photos.

Real-time People Detection and Tracking with multiple Kinects is a neat (and scary) little demo put together by some students and a professor from EPFL (a French Swiss tech school).


There are also Kinect 3D art hacks, some original Mario Kart and Quake Live hacks, 3D object manipulation, cloud viewers and several others. Some of them are floating randomly about the web, but several are listed at the wiki/gallery of openkinect.org.

If you want a review of how well the straight-ahead consumer version of the Kinect works, check out Evan’s review.

What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s Kinect? What other potential innovations could you see coming out of this?