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Kinect Hacked, Adafruit Bounty Won 262

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-took-so-long dept.
scharkalvin writes "Adafruit has announced a winner to their bounty for an open source driver for the MS Kinect. From the article: 'We have verified that it works and have a screenshot from another member in the hacking community (thanks qdot!) who was also able to use the code. Congrats to Hector! He's running all this on a Linux laptop (his code works with OpenGL) and doesn't even have an Xbox!'" We talked about Adafruit's bounty yesterday.

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Kinect Hacked, Adafruit Bounty Won

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  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:18PM (#34191464)
    that certainly didn't take long. Congratz.
  • Tampering! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:18PM (#34191470) Homepage Journal

    Making stuff work is a crime.

    • Depends on how the hacker did it. If the hacker only released a driver that works without altering the Kinect module in any way, MS can say what they want but they don't have much legal standing. It would be a case of reverse engineering which is legal.
      • Re:Tampering! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @10:25PM (#34193014)

        "If the hacker only released a driver that works without altering the Kinect module in any way, MS can say what they want but they don't have much legal standing."

        Why the hell would they have any standing if he did alter it? It belongs to him, not MS!

        Hell, he could pull it apart, rewire it, reflash things...

        What the hell happened to I bought it, it's mine ?? If I want to use it as a doorstop I will, if I figure out a way to cannibalise a sensor in it for some other purpose, I will. If I want to paint it green and shove it up my arse, I will.

        FFS what's wrong with this planet?

      • That's not true at all. By communicating with the Kinect device over USB actively you are using the software within, and therefore bound to a SLA to use such software in the device(at least, as validly as a SLA would apply to any other use of software like the more common screen+keyboard use model).
    • Re:Tampering! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:29PM (#34192048)

      Making stuff work is a crime.

            Only in the land of the free. In other "less free" places it's not a crime. Yet.

  • by Master Moose (1243274) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:25PM (#34191528) Homepage

    "Using a linux laptop". . Now every geek that has avoided Microsoft and their products like the plaugue will be rushing out and buying Kinect controllers. .

    Step One: Create a toy that will entise the Open Source crowd
    Step Two: Wait for some one to get it to work on their linux box
    Step Three: watch all the geeks and hobyists buy said toy
    Step Four: Profit

    Hacking is good for business.

    • by cobrausn (1915176) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:30PM (#34191570)
      And all the sweeter, Microsoft said 'No'. And we all know how we geeks and open source guys are when told 'No'. They will take special joy in paying Microsoft 150 bucks to buy a Kinect and hack it for hobby projects..
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rik Sweeney (471717)

      Step Four: Make a loss on every device sold and not recover it because these people aren't buying the games

      FTFY

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:35PM (#34191624)

        Kinect is net positive and not sold at a loss.

        http://www.lazygamer.net/microsoft-will-make-a-profit-on-every-kinect-sold/

        • by JimboFBX (1097277)
          The hardware isn't sold at a loss. There was still a bunch of R&D dumped into the project itself so it has to make X amount of revenue over it's lifetime before it truly turns a profit. Of course, they are shooting themselves in the foot if they continue to release mediocre games that barely get beyond the novelty of the device itself. I think we've all learned our lesson from the Wii this time and any minor flaw that is in the product right now is probably going to continue to stay there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xero314 (722674)
      You forgot an important step:

      ???

      Which in this case happens to be:

      "Sell product with a reasonable margin"

      But it appears that Kinect might actually be sold at a loss (sorry I see mixed reports)
    • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:07PM (#34191890) Journal
      Actually, Microsoft tends to make good hardware, or at least they used to.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847)

        Hi, this is the Red Ring of Death calling. Where have you been the last few years?

        Any company that puts out electronics with more than low single digit failure rates, especially a flagship product, does not make good hardware.

        • I've had an original 360 for years and years and years, and I still have no idea what that was all about. Mine doesn't even get particularly warm - proper ventilation and care goes a long way.

          I have never even had a glitch with it, in fact, aside from one non-reproducible graphics error in Fallout 3.

          • by anethema (99553)
            Well, one anecdotal result, never mind guys. Cancel all those surveys/articles talking about shockingly high doubt digit failure rates.
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:29PM (#34191550)

    I've always wondered about that statement - did Microsoft really mean people hacking Kinect the hardware, or did they refer to the new round of cracking going on in the Xbox360 community after Microsoft rolled out the Fall Update?

    After all, iFixit's tear down doesn't reveal any anti-tamper mechanisms - no potting of circuit boards or anything. Unless they meant firmware hacking to try a USB jailbreak for the 360, but that's simple to do without needing a $150 piece of equipment.

    The Fall update did bring out anti-modded-Xbox protection measures. Backup games fail a new check and the results get reported back to Microsoft, who can institute a new round of console bans (but only if you're stupid enough to connect to Live with your modded Xbox360). I'm just wondering if some new PR person got the explanation all jumbled up or something between the engineers, legal and PR made a very interesting game of telephone.

    I can see how going from "The software update we rolled out for Kinect contains new anti-piracy measures" into "Microsoft takes strong measures against those who tamper with Kinect". Or how a simple query by someone asking for drivers to Microsoft gets turned into a request for the Xbox360 software itself leading to silly statements. Add in 20 layers of management that the message gets filtered through and it's what you end up with.

    • by marcansoft (727665) <hector@nOspAM.marcansoft.com> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:34PM (#34191618) Homepage

      What the Kinect does have is anti-cloning. The Kinect cryptographically authenticates itself to the 360 (but not the other way around, as far as I can tell). In other words, it should be very hard to clone, but this doesn't affect efforts to use it outside of the original Xbox platform.

      It seems to me like the people in charge of those Microsoft PR statements don't really know what they're talking about. Sure, there's some "security" around the Kinect (in the general sense of anti-cloning and associated Xbox updates), but as far as I can tell, no effort has been made to prevent DIY use like this. Getting it to work was comparable to getting any other proprietary USB device to work: an exercise in reverse engineering and traffic replaying, but there were no deliberate obstacles along the way.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602)

        Anti-cloning makes more sense than anything really. What does microsoft REALLY care if you use a kinect with your Linux PC? Or even your windows PC.

        They would, however, want to stop people selling knock-off kinect peripherals. (Whether they should be able to even do that is a separate question, but at least one can see why they'd be motivated to.)

        • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:23PM (#34191996)

          Anti-cloning makes more sense than anything really. What does microsoft REALLY care if you use a kinect with your Linux PC? Or even your windows PC.

          Microsoft probably cares very much if Kinect sales are not perceived in the marketplace as indicative of the Xbox 360 Kinect-using market, since the market penetration of the Xbox360+Kinect combo is a point to use in getting devs to make games for that combo.

          If one person does it, sure, they don't care. But if it is perceived as being widespread, they certainly care. Which means if it is being covered in a public forum with substantial exposure, they have a strong incentive to respond to it.
           

          • The number of people who will use this thing for other than its intended purpose will be in the thousands, not the millions. So what are they worrying about?
    • by SharpFang (651121) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @06:45PM (#34191708) Homepage Journal

      I guess the problem might be replacing Kinect with a different device presenting itself as Kinect to XBox. This way you'd gain unfair advantage in online games - where your fitness, physical condition and body momentum would restrict you normally, you could use, say, a key to deliver lightning fast kicks, or duck to the ground faster than gravitational acceleration would normally let you.

  • What'll you bet that Microsoft rushes out a new, less hackable version. There aren't so many of these in the field that it wouldn't be worth their while. Or are they just planning on using patent takedowns to make it illegal to work with the data stream produced by a Kinect box?

    Which brings up an interesting (to me, at least) topic. Once you buy a product that legally implements a patent, aren't you implicitly granted a license to use that patent? To me, if you have, for example, a license to have an ex

    • Generally licenses state that they are non-transferrable. Meaning they are given for a particular implementation of a work. For instance, you don't license the account, you license the software to access the account (which may contain a license forbidding modification of that software). As far as codecs, the same applies. You are not given a license to the patent, but an implementation of that patent. Re-implementing requires a new patent license.
      • by Rob Y. (110975)

        I get that, but I'm not sure why the patent office allows it. It's anti-competitive, and double-charging. Sure, if they can get away with it, they will.

        In the case of exchange, I'm licensing both pieces of software. Who's to say which piece implements the patent? At some point interoperability demands that wire protocols be implementable, and as long as I'm a paid-up exchange user, I shouldn't have to pay again to implement it.

        And in the case of codecs, the value of the patented idea ought to be the qua

    • Simple, the EULA protects the closed-source vendors, not you, the consumer from "misuse" of their shitty product. Every EULA is essentially a list of occurrences that they did not, would not, or could not code for, as well as a promise that you, the consumer, are the vendor's personal bitch and you aren't really allowed to use their products in the first place, but since you paid they'll let you for a limited time, until they can get you to upgrade to the next closed-release of their POS software. THIS is

    • by IKnwThePiecesFt (693955) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:08PM (#34191896) Homepage

      Or Microsoft won't do anything to stop this since they really don't care.

  • by Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:09PM (#34191902)
    This guy is on the way to solving the three main problems of personal robotics:
    1. Indoor localization (figure out where you are inside)
    2. Indoor navigation
    3. Table top manipulation

    There are already open source software packages for all of these items, but they require very expensive laser scanners (starting at 5K a pop). Most of these lasers only scan one row at a time, which means that for situations where you want 3D, you have to tilt the scanner up and down. This is a hassle and leads to slow scan times, which reduces the responsiveness of the robot.

    For indoor localization, what you really want is just a line of points at a fixed height (you could extract one row of Kinect depth pixels) that you can feed to particle filers to figure out position in a mapped space. You might also be able to use opensource SLAM software, wheel encoders, and a Kinect to make 2D and 3D maps of indoor environments.

    For indoor navigation, you can use 2D navigation planners to figure out plans through maps, and then use indoor localization to follow the plans. The Kinect can serve as an obstacle detector in addition to the providing data to the localizer. For example, if a person or animal jumps in front of the robot, the Kinect will sense it, and allow the robot to stop instantly and plan a new route. With a tilting laser, the reaction time would be slower, because laser might be in an orientation where it does not see the obstacle.

    For table top manipulation, the Kinect can provide a point cloud of the objects on the table. CV software can remove the background (table, wall, etc.) and then detect the objects on the table. Once this is done, motion planners can plan a route for an arm or other manipulator to pick up objects on the table.

    Once we have all three of these systems, it should not be all that hard to link them together and start actually doing useful things with robots in our homes. Even just the first two would make it possible useful cleaning and sentry robots.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Another very cool application would be a 3d object digitizer (say you want to put a 3d model of your own face into a video game). Instead of building a 3d model manually in e.g. 3d Studio Max (extremely laborious), you just turn the object over a few times and it combines the visual and depth fields to make a 3d, texture-mapped model of the object.

      This is somewhat possible without the depth field, but vastly more accurate (and easy) with it.

      • Another good idea. I'm not aware of any opensource 3D model generators, but I think you might be able to find one/write one. You could have spinning turntable on which was placed (although this would be a hassle for people) or have some kind of spinning ring with the kinect on it.
        • by am 2k (217885)

          It should be pretty easy to use inter-frame correlations to scan an object in 3D just by rotating it in front of the camera if you do it slowly enough. The only problem would be that your fingers would be scanned as well. You'd probably have to do two runs with different finger positions and combine them.

          The only possible caveat would be the depth resolution of the camera. From the video, you can see that there's a pretty large minimum distance, how accurate is the sensor at that range?

    • by apparently (756613) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @07:46PM (#34192178)

      Once we have all three of these systems, it should not be all that hard to link them together and start actually doing useful things with robots in our homes. Even just the first two would make it possible useful cleaning and sentry robots.

      We theoretically approach useful home robotics, and your first thought is cleaning? Followed by sentry duties? What about the ole in-out-in-out, man? Where in the hell are your priorities?
      "Cleaning." I swear some people are just too happy to announce to the world "Hey, look at me! I have zero sense of imagination! Look how practical I am!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fermion (181285)
      Kinect seems to be one of those products that is really innovative. MS has put together technology that would be useful in many situations. So the question is why are they selling it as a toy and why are they selling it for only $150.

      On the later, if anyone thinks that $150 pays all costs on this thing they are out of their mind. I think on hardware we are used to MS not transferring development costs to the consumer. However, the xBox is a successful product, so I think we are going to see more of MS

    • Fellow Slashdotters, your opinion on this please: now that the Kinect is actually useful, for how long do you think they will be available before Microsoft changes something so that the open-source drivers don't work?

      I want to know whether to go buy one now before Microsoft retires the current model and starts putting other models out with new firmware that won't work with the drivers.

      Currently I don't have any use for one, but I do have a bit of disposable income, and wonder whether it would be useful to s

  • OK now bring on the PS3, Wii,Linux and indie games before MS brings on their own.

    <evil grin>
  • Id keep up my whining but do nothing, while I take notes on "innovative" ways to exploit the technology as people develop on it for free.

    Then take their idea and if they complain, threaten them for breaking the EULA, or something along those lines.

  • When you look back to Kinect's beginnings, this news is somewhat more interesting in the light that the original "Project Natal" team that came up with it included Johnny Chung Lee (noted for Wii-mote hacks he did at Carnegie Mellon before working for Microsoft):

    http://games.slashdot.org/story/09/06/12/0450237/Why-Natal-Is-a-Big-Deal [slashdot.org]

    If I were MS, Sony, or Nintendo, I'd be paying close attention to people in the community that start doing interesting things with this and put them on my short-list for recr

    • This is a somewhat different thing from what Johnny Lee did, though. Johnny took existing Wiimote driver code and used it to do some very cool things with the data, such as his famous head tracking demonstration. He didn't figure out the actual communications protocol, though (in fact, I did a lot of the early Wiimote reverse engineering hacks [youtube.com] too; I guess I have a thing for wacky game controllers!).

      Unfortunately for us engineers and low-level hackers, the people actually finding practical algorithms and cool uses for these devices tend to get more attention than the people hacking the low-level details ;). I'm genuinely excited to see what computer vision experts can do with the raw Kinect data, though (I personally can't do much more than apply a cheap heat map to the data like I did in my video).

  • This is the camera and IR depth sensor but has anyone figured out how to talk to the microphones, electric motor and other stuff in there yet?

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