It didn’t take long for Kinect to get hacked. Over the past week and a half since Kinect’s release, we’ve seen some amazing things done with the technology, most of it through hacks. Users have been able to make the peripheral do things that Microsoft probably hadn’t intended to do with it.
While Microsoft wasn’t very pleased with the hackers’ work, the rest of the internet loved how it opened new possibilities with the hardware. Of course Kinect isn’t the only cool thing we’ve seen, there are plenty of other technologies out there that truly make us feel like the future is now.
1) 3D Camera
This is perhaps one of the coolest Kinect hacks we have seen. It uses the Kinect’s depth-sensing cameras to seemingly pan around an object. Of course the Kinect camera is stationary, so it’s not actually panning around the object or able to see around it. Still, because it can sense objects in a 3D environment, it makes for some interesting results. The kind of results you’d see in a 2002 sci-fi action thriller, where a distant camera is somehow able to zoom in and pan around an object.
2) Moving Photo Interface
Wouldn’t it be cool to sort through photos or files by simply waving and poking your hands through the air? It’s already possible with this Kinect hack. Imagine looking through the crime files on your desktop and being able to zoom in and out of images using simple gestures.
3) iPad + Kinect + Mac
That’s a lot of gadgets! We caught this one earlier. Sadly, most of us probably have each one of them at home. This guy has modified Kinect to…um Kinect to his iPad and MacBook Pro (We’ve seen Kinect running on OS X before). The iPad’s accelerometer and touchscreen allow him to control the camera and zoom and pan.
4) Robots are Real
While not nearly as creepy as the little spider robots in Minority Report, we do fear that Kinect may one day become self-aware. It already recognizes us, and is able to track our movement around the room. Now meet the Kinect-equipped Roomba. You know, that cute little vacuum cleaner that cleans up for you? With Kinect’s camera, the Roomba is able to move around the room without bumping into objects. This, because of the ability to render objects in 3D space. It can also recognize your gestures.
5) Object Recognition
As we mentioned earlier, Kinect can recognize a player. Did you know you can also teach it to recognize objects? It’s actually rather creepy thanks to the voice on the guy’s computer. We are totally serious when we say we will be having nightmares about Kinect talking to us in this voice while trying to play Xbox. No, seriously, we’re getting the chills just watching this video, and much of it has to do with the computer’s voice.
6) Tracking Objects
Watch as the light follows these people around. It could be cool if you create a sentry by mounting a paintball gun and teaching it to recognize someone from the opposing team. Of course we doubt that Kinect’s motor is strong enough to swivel around with a paintball gun. Still a cool thought though.
No Fate But What We Make
Yeah, we had to throw in a Terminator reference, just because we can’t help but imagine the idea of machines becoming self-aware and deciding to turn on us. We fear the day the Roomba tries to eat our cat or when Kinect asks us why we’ve been ignoring it.
We’ve already heard reports that Kinect can gather data on us based on various things. For example, a group of friends watching sports center. If it notices the group wearing a certain color, it can target them with advertisements geared for them. We don’t know if it’s as scary as it sounds, but one thing we can tell you is that you may want to think twice before trying to play in the nude.
Nonetheless, it’s a cool technology that we totally love.