Recently a company called Adafruit made a challenge to coders worldwide to write open source drivers for the Microsoft Kinect technology. They even offered $2000 reward for the person who could do it. As you would expect, Microsoft wasn’t too happy and released a few statements regarding the issue:
…work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant
In my view in further proof of Microsoft not only loosing its grip in many area’s of IT (since it appears Microsoft’s best efforts to secure the Kinect have failed), its also lost its “teeth” and the toothless tigers comments did little to worry Adafruit when they came back with:
Don’t make us up it to $3k
Now it seems (if claims are correct) that already someone has stepped up and freed the Kinect from the 360. Engadget reports:
We tracked down the son-of-a-gun who did it — as it happens, the same NUI Group member who hacked the PlayStation Eye in 2008 — and found to our disappointment that he doesn’t necessarily intend to unleash his new exploit on the world. The $2,000 prize Adafruit is presently offering for open-source Kinect drivers isn’t his aim, though he does have big personal plans for the device….
The story is also covered at the Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/09/kinect_hack/
So the question is why would anyone really want the Kinect technology on their PC (or other device) in the first place? I think its safe to say that Microsoft certainly doesn’t want you doing this, maybe because the Kinect is being sold at a loss and they rely on you purchasing 360 games for it to make up the shortfall? – I’ll let you decide.
I also find it very interesting how Microsoft say:
work closely with law enforcement
as if to suggest that writing an open source driver for a product you have bought would be of interest to the police. Let me make something very clear. If you purchased one of these Microsoft contraptions and if you decided to write a driver which enabled you to plug the aforementioned device into your PC – You commit no criminal offense what so ever. The funny thing is, (certainly in the UK) even if there was criminal legislation to accommodate these actions, I doubt you would find many law enforcement officers who actually know what the Kinect was anyway.
For those of you buying a Kinect – thank you. I think you will be the guinea pigs and we will be reading about issues you have with the device in the coming months. I look forward to talking about them.
So the final question is, how long does Microsoft intend to stick with the 360? I’d suggest that the main purpose of Kinect is to try and drag out the life of the 360 for as long as possible, after all the RROD issue did not assist profits from the system.
And we end on a lighter note, just to show the 360 did aid innovation and creativity:
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