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Microsoft Says Yes To Kinect Hacking

By on November 20th, 2010 
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Kinect_1 With new cool hacks for Kinect coming up every other day, Microsoft has taken an u-turn from their earlier decision. Around two week ago when Adafruit announced a bounty for developing an open-source driver for the Kinect, Microsoft made it clear that they condone it.

Update: Two more amazing kinect hacks

This is the statement they issued to CNET regarding the Adafruit bounty:

Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.

It did not take long, three days to be specific, for open-source drivers to be developed and now we are seeing new cool applications of Kinect almost everyday. Now Microsoft seem to have realized the potential of their device and has made an u-turn. Alex Kipman, Xbox Director of Incubation, said during the show Science Friday yesterday that they left the Kinect open by design.

This is what Alex Kipman said:

The first thing to talk about is, Kinect was not actually hacked. Hacking would mean that someone got to our algorithms that sit inside of the Xbox and was able to actually use them, which hasn't happened. Or, it means that you put a device between the sensor and the Xbox for means of cheating, which also has not happened. That's what we call hacking, and that's what we have put a ton of work and effort to make sure doesn't actually occur.

What has happened is someone wrote an open-source driver for PCs that essentially opens the USB connection, which we didn't protect, by design, and reads the inputs from the sensor.

Shannon Loftis, the Studio Manager of Microsoft Game Studios, added:

As an experience creator, I'm very excited to see that people are so inspired that it was less than a week after the Kinect came out before they they had started creating and thinking about what they could do.

It is good that Microsoft is now embracing the awesome applications of Kinect that people are developing. This may also open up another market for Kinect of course – one that they do not have to put in funds to develop.

Adafruit is obviously happy that they have been able to make Microsoft change their stance. This is what they wrote in their blog:

Congrats to everyone in the open source community, in about one week we turned “work closely with law enforcement” to “inspired’ by community finding new uses for Kinect.

Further Readings:

1. Microsoft: Kinect wasn't hacked, USB port left open 'by design'

2. Microsoft now says it’s “inspired’ by community finding new uses for Kinect…

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Microsoft Says Yes To Kinect Hacking was originally published on Digitizor.com on November 20, 2010 - 10:49 pm (Indian Standard Time)