Home ANTHILL TV Hackers take Xbox 360’s motion-detection tech in wild, new directions

Hackers take Xbox 360’s motion-detection tech in wild, new directions


Hackers and open-source software magicians are taking the motion-detection capability of Xbox 360’s Kinect and plugging it into all manner of eye-popping stuff.

Microsoft introduced Kinect in November. It uses a webcam-like peripheral that senses a user’s gestures and spoken commands. It’s hands-free … no controller is needed (Gatesville hasn’t cornered the market with this, by the way; Wii and PlayStation have similar tech).

What we show here are hackers taking the Kinect sensor and mating it with homemade software… if you call MIT and other bastions of genius “home.” They’ve created programs that track fingers, hands, forearms and elbows, and they’re made them compatible with common platforms such as Linux, Windows and OS X.

The tricks shown on the first video were inspired by the floating images manipulated by Tom Cruise in “Minority Report.” The software can detect everything down the user’s fingertips, which he can then use to move objects on the screen.

The other two videos were created for more whimsical results, but they remind one of those first attempts at computer animation in the early ’80s. And the beauty of all this isn’t about motion detection per se; that tech has been around for years.

It’s the idea of making it available to anyone with a laptop and some time to kill.

Imagine where we could go with motion-detecting, hands-free computing. Imagine pairing up these envelope-pushing wizards with some of Australia’s young entrepreneurs. We have a sudden urge to do the wave…

Hand detection using Kinect sensor

Puppetry using a hacked Kinect

Air guitar prototype with Kinect