Microsoft claims Kinect left open by design (with bonus hacked vids)
Microsoft says that the Kinect USB port was left open by design, and you can expect a rush to create drivers for various OS’s. This will increase Kinect sales, so I don’t doubt the statement. With camera sensors dropping in price and increasing in capability eventually you will see everyone develop gestural I/O devices, and a combo of gestural and voice input is bound to displace a lot of keyboard and mouse input (there will still be a long time need for administrative console keyboards and mice, do not expect them to go away for security reasons among other things…)
This brings up a lot of wild-assed speculation however. Will these sensor devices eventually be able to recognize individuals by scanning and face recognition software? If so will they be able to tailor I/O and commands to individuals in a living room full of family? What will the outcome of that be? Will they become biometric security devices that can’t be fooled?
Will most people convert to gestural/speech/and video I/O while typing is left to old fashioned literati?
Will open public pixel walls pop up everywhere where anyone can gesturally control the pixel fabric? Will the public square become even more virtual and seamless worldwide?
I could go on and on, but needless to say I believe this type of input will be every bit as revolutionary as the Mouse, and that’s just another reason I’m not worried in the least about our future economy.
The Kinect’s open-source PC drivers allow coders to have their way with the hardware, and we’ve already begun to see interesting things coming from the community. On NPR last Friday, a company spokesman said that wasn’t an accident: Microsoft left the USB connection open by design.
That could be a retcon—or it could be the truth—but it’s nice to hear Microsoft be so welcoming of third-party drivers on the hardware, especially since the announcement was made in such a public forum. And we already have a real-time lightsaber demo… and that’s pretty much wicked.
Also, the hardware has not been hacked
Microsoft is adamant that, until the proprietary software has been compromised or the hardware itself has changed, the Kinect has not been hacked. “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,” Alex Kipman, director of incubation at Microsoft, said on NPR. “The sensor, again, as I talked earlier, has eyes and ears and that’s a whole bunch of, you know, noise that someone needs to take and turn into signal.”