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November 10, 2010 AT 2:51 pm

WE HAVE A WINNER – Open Kinect driver(s) released – Winner will use $3k for more hacking – PLUS an additional $2k goes to the EFF!

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WE HAVE A WINNER – Open Kinect driver(s) released – Winner will use $3k for more hacking – PLUS an additional $2k goes to the EFF! That’s right – We have a winner for the $3k bounty for Open source drivers for the Xbox Kinect. Hector sent us an email, He writes –

Here’s my take on the Kinect driver. Supports depth and RGB images and displays them on an OpenGL window. It’s very hacky right now but it does prove the concept :)

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!

Hector has decided to invest this bounty into hacking tools and devices for a group of people he works with closely (e.g. iPhone Dev Team members, Wii hacker team Team Twiizers, and a few others). They don’t have much expendable income to buy tools and devices to hack, and sometimes this hobby can be a bit expensive, this will be a good investment that will allow them to hack more and newer devices.

What’s next? If you’d like to keep hacking there is a Google Group called “OpenKinect Google Group” – 100+ people and we’ve published our data dumps, our hello world motor code and now there is code/drivers from Hector (marcan).

We know this subsidized / commodity hardware can now be used for robotics, art, science, education and more. For $150 it’s loaded with tons of great sensors and cameras – now it’s unlocked for creativity. We expect to see a Chumby hacker board and/or BeagleBoard using a Kinect for it’s vision-system robot soon! Who knows FIRST robotics might use these for their next robotic competition.


In addition to the $3k bounty we are ALSO going to donate $2,000 to the EFF ( They defend our digital rights, our right to hack, reverse engineer and do things like this project. From the start of this effort Microsoft said they were going to “work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant” – if they did (or still plan to) the EFF would likely be our only hope (yours too). If you’d like to make sure we can all continue to hack, tinker and mod please consider donating to the EFF as well.

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  1. NICE JOB 😀

  2. Incredible, can’t wait to use the Kinect in a school project, can’t get more close to what I need, awesome!

  3. Marcan is a stud. I am very glad we have such awesome people working on things like this.

  4. wow! nice work. I cannot believe how FAST this all came together.

  5. Interesting that the “open” OpenKinect group requires approval to join.

    Open, you say?

  6. Excellent job sir, and in only 3 hours after he actually got his kinect, prize well deserved

  7. GREAT.
    Hector is incredible …

  8. Excelent! Congrats!

  9. Wow, you removed my comment which was pointed out the questionable openness of the Google group you link to.

    Why, exactly?

  10. @michael – “wow”? – please – refresh this page, your comment is above.

  11. Apologies – I refreshed multiple times yet it wasn’t showing up.

  12. big ups for this! I can’t wait for the day when there are more open hardware devices and hacking them is the norm. Thanks for sponsoring such a worthy contest AND helping out the EFF at the same time.

  13. Way to go, Hector! Congrats!

  14. just fyi – The group is closed just because some of its members are MS employees and other nonsense, new members are approved daily and there’s definitely no criteria for membership. The wiki and code is all public access.

  15. Way to go, can’t wait to mess with it. Also thanks Lady Ada for sponsoring this little bit of awesomeness.

  16. Insane. 3 hours!!!
    Give him another grand to explain how he did it.

    The depth resolution seems crude (LIDAR it ain’t ) but that makes sense if all it needs to do is create and map an outline of a body jumping up and down or kicking, punching, etc.

  17. This was a great effort. I really thought it was pretty amazing watching Ladyada dump the USB and 20 minutes later she had written a USB motor hack to control the kinect and then posted the code.

    There appears to have been some great TEAM WORK in all of this CONGRATS to everyone involved.

  18. Absolutely awesome.

    Congrats to the winner, and double congrats to AdaFruit for the various bounties.

    BTW, what’s the power consumption of the sensor like? Doesn’t seem like it would be particularly onerous to put it on a mobile robot.

    /I think I’m off at lunchtime to get a kinect…

  19. Very nice. Especially that the closed OpenKinect people didn’t get it :) It had quite a ransomware-smell to it that they started their kickstarter collection before even releasing anything… (read like: "when we’ve reached 10k, there will be some kind of open source thing, maybe even OSI licensed…").

    I’ll probably get me a kinect tomorrow despite lack of funds…

    Could you do a post about powering it? Since it seems to use more than the 500mA provided by USB…

  20. ah, I was referring to this: codelabs, not openkinect, sorry. (also they removed the text?)

  21. This is awesome! I love anything that has to do with softmodding, modding, or hacking video game technology. I just started my blog and I think I will be frequenting your blog! Maybe we can trade links? :) Thanks for all the great news!

  22. Congratulations! can’t wait to see what gadgets spring from the success of this project.

  23. Kudos to all involved, particularly Adafruit for highlighting the digital rights issues and the donation to EFF.

    PS: love the Captcha

  24. Very amazing, can’t wait to get mine.

  25. Congratulations! I don’t give a sht about XBox but there’s so many possibilities of using this with a PC driver. Incredible :)

    Wish I’d have time to play with this these days :(

  26. massive props for this – Lady Ada for sponsoring / helping EFF. amazing how quickly this all happened – I’ll be off to buy a kinect today then. bring on the software rush

  27. Kudos :)

  28. I am also very glad that the prize went to the person who deserve it the most.

    Congratulations to Hector and all the others who collaborated to create a real open source project for this device.

  29. nice captcha.

  30. I’m going to send a ling to this to my daughter. She’s a past member of a FIRST Robotics team. She’s now in college majoring in video game design and I know she’ll want to see this.

  31. NICE JOB! I go buy one :)

  32. 3 hours! Nice and grats!

  33. Time for everyone to join the EFF I think. Cut a couple of hamburgers a month, or a smaller pizza and it makes you healthier AND safer

  34. Too bad marcan used libusb-1.0 which isnt available to windows systems yet. Tried my own code with the available libusb-win32, but that pretty much sucks on isochronous transfer (get all the data too, just about 30 mins after marcan posted his stuff, damn :) ), but have a high loss of packets. Anyone with a good alternative to libusb-win32 ?

  35. Happy to see this happen… and thanks to Adafruit for the donation to the EFF as well. :)

  36. Very, very cool.

    Can’t wait to see some crazy guy take these sensors and hook them up to a pair of sun glasses (maybe a welders mask ;).

    I also can’t wait to see massively large collaboration projects using this technology. When is the Open Source community set to go huge?

    A thousands people working on the drivers, a thousand working on the hardware, a thousand working on the electrical systems, a thousand working on the application software, a thousand working on the documentation… dynamic website, robotic systems integration… etc.

  37. this is GREAT!!! i can see a interface “A-LA” the movie minority report…. imagine.. something like an Android system on a very large screen TV.. using kinect to interface with it..

  38. Congratulation Hector!

  39. nailed it dude!

  40. wow, its very amazing i dont know that this it’s possible.

    Great brother .

  41. Congrats Hector, nice job.


    libusb-1.0 *is* available for windows, see;a=summary

  42. Props to Hector!

  43. Would be great if there was a windows driver that made it into two sources, depth and cam, that way it could be used like webcams are being used in jitter!

  44. Awesome stuff Hector! And well done to Adafruit for the bounties and donation to the EFF. Hector ++

  45. Awesome!!

  46. *applause*

  47. Hector, HACKTOR!!


  49. Congratulations Hector!

  50. Well done, In only 3 hours as well! (In reality I just wanted to try out the cool resistor captcha)

  51. where is the bloody…Donate button!!!!!!! you need to get one…

  52. Awesome Captcha

  53. Awesome Captcha

  54. Incredible work..!

  55. Incredible work..!

  56. Pretty quick! Now let’s see some projects using the kinect!
    I like the resistor reading human verifier… LOL

  57. Microsoft profited nearly 30 years ago from the consequences of reverse engineering of the IBM PC which opened up the PC market and allowed Microsoft to become a colossus. It would be hypocrisy for Microsoft to now gripe about reverse engineering which is not illegal as no copyright would have been breached.

  58. Kudos! Keep up the great work, you guys rock!

  59. Wow.
    Great job – amazing.
    This looks like a pretty amazing tool; the resolution is really quite good, considering the coast of the device, but the color-coded pixel-to-distance mapping is what gets me excited. The should be relatively easy to interface to.
    And now I’m going to go practice my Jedi power hand-wave.

  60. Exceptional work! Thank you for sharing.

  61. Great work, I’d never in a 100 years be able to work this out lol
    Why is there a threat from Microsoft? Surely the device is yours once you own it and you can do what you like with it? As long as there’s no M$ code used I don’t see a problem :-/

  62. Would you like inform the the kind of the licence ? GPL, LGPL, PSD, MIT … ?

  63. Sweet ^_^

  64. Congrats, I just had a look at the source.. Genius for such a little time!!!

  65. Great work! Especially for Open Source projects!

  66. i just want to thank this community for making yet another piece of over priced hardware useful in a billion other ways simply (not at all) by breaking its core down and letting people know how it was done… for free

    i love and appreciate this work, people dedicate so much time with no reward so people like me can enjoy tinkering a lot easier.

    love and praise goes out to the community, if it wasnt for homies like hector, who knows what junk coporations would have us slave to…

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