Ol’ Billy Kinect? Those hackers done got ‘im.
There was a bounty on Kinect’s head even before most people had their chance to get Microsoft’s new motion controller back to their homes. Open-source electronics website Adafruit was offering a $2000 reward to the first hacker to crack open the protections Microsoft placed on their revolutionary device and create DIY drivers that would permit it to run on hardware other than the Xbox 360.
Today, proof that said cracking is well under way hit the interwebs. A video surfaced which shows a Kinect unit with its motor responding to commands from a PC and registering accelrometer movement. It’s still a long way from operating codes that would let you do something even so simple as video chat, but this video represents a prying open of a door Microsoft would rather stay closed.
Such curiosity and fiddling is the fate of any latter-day tech product, with everything from iPhones to, most recently, the PS3 having parts of their hardware+software fusion broken up and re-purposed. Despite how commonplace this stuff has become, Microsoft hasn’t let it stop them from sending sternly worded statements that frown on hackery. From CNET:
Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products. With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.”
So, the dance of hacker and manufacturer continues. It’ll be interesting to track just how long it’ll take for more significant access to be gotten on the device. The secret sauce of Kinect is proprietary technology, though, and even hackers and tinkerers get at the code and components, they simply may not be able to make it obey. Hopefully, this activity just lights a fire under Microsoft to use this same technology in more widespread ways.