Hacking your xBox…wait you can do that?!

  • Post author:
  • Post category:xBox

In light of the recent events that have occurred in the Sandbox over the past couple of days, I’d like to share a couple of things about the xBox Kinect and all its glory (aka how to hack it to make really cool things that Microsoft never intended) in order to add onto Conner’s previous post about the Kinect.

For those of you who don’t know, the Kinect for xBox was launched November 4th, of 2010 in North America and sold 8 million units in the first 2 months breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device. The device itself is coined a “motion sensing input device” that enables users to interact with their xBox 360 through motion or spoken commands. The original bundle contained the game Kinect Adventures, as well as the actual Kinect.

However, the real meat of the story comes with the Software Development Kit. The Microsoft announced it’s official release of the SDK for non-commercial use on June 16th, 2011. Since then the gaming, and more importantly technology, world has been subject to the innovation of the masses as they take advantage of a very advanced piece of software. Check it out!

The Kinect for Windows SDK is compatible with a special driver for Windows 7 and allows developers to build in C++, C#, and Visual Basic while utilizing the following features built into the Kinect: Raw sensor streams, Skeletal tracking and Advanced Audio.

Prior to the release of the SDK, Adafruit Industries offered a price to whoever could develop the best open-source driver for Kinect, AKA so people could hack into it and use it. Initially, Microsoft voiced its disapproval at this stating that it “does not condone the modification of its products” and that it had “build in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering.” However, it was later revealed that they left the USB unguarded for a reason and that Johnny Lee of Microsoft had given Adafruit the idea to do the contest.

Development on the Kinect has gone way past the purposes of gaming. Robots, hand controlled browsers, motion-controlled user interfaces, virtual instruments, 3D video conferencing, video surveillance systems, presentation software, and much much more. Aside from the pleasure/business uses that have been discovered, numerous medical innovations have been made. They have been used as a test for children with autism as well as a way for surgeons to navigate through MRI images during surgery hands free!

If you have some ideas of what we can do with our Kinect, let us know! We are always looking to try new things.