After Kinect hit North American shelves on Nov. 4, Adafruit announced a bounty of $1,000 to the first hacker able to create an open-source driver for Kinect, a piece of software that would allow anybody to create programs that used the device’s powerful array of video cameras and microphones. Though Kinect arrived on the market with a handful of simple games, many analysts feel that gaming represents one of the least powerful potential applications of the new technology.
When Microsoft caught word of Adafruit’s efforts, it issued a warning. “Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products,” a spokesperson said, promising the company would “work closely with law enforcement and product-safety groups to keep Kinect tamper resistant.”
Undaunted, Adafruit raised their bounty to $2,000, then to $3,000, and to help people along, uploaded an analysis of the protocols Kinect uses to communicate through its USB plug. Within a few hours, a Spanish open-source advocate named Héctor Martín got a Kinect working with his Linux laptop, and released his open-source driver into the wild.
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