OpenKinect project – Hacking the Xbox 360 Kinect Controller

I think this is massive.

The technology itself that opens up lots of opportunities and fundamentally changes the way we interact with ads, removing controllers, buttons, keyboards, handsets and mice.

Xbox have just launched the Xbox 360 Kinect Controller.

The Challenge: getting rid of the barrier 30+ years of interacting with computers and technology through controllers, buttons, keyboards, handsets and mice. The principal of Kinect is that it works on similar motion tracking technology you may have seen in big budget movie special effects and video games. However, instead of every member of the household having to don a colourful jumpsuit with the ping pong balls attached for the console to track every movement, the Kinect camera will do this for you.

Developed by PrimeSense, the Kinect 3D depth and motion sensor camera chips have made the unit so sensitive; it’s like a military range finder for your living room. So instead of tracking ping pong balls the camera is smart enough to track 42 different points on the human body and translate these movements into live action. Kinect for Xbox 360 is not only controlled by movement but also voice. With four in-built microphones you can wander around your living room and the camera and system can track you and adhere to your commands such as: “Xbox play music” or “Xbox pause.”

It launched this week. It’s now been hacked as part of the OpenKinect project and smart dudes all over are hooking the controller up to their PCs to explore what’s possible. All the amazing stuff below happened within 5 days.

Kinect Open Sourced

The Kinect was hacked and open sourced within 3 hours of purchase.

Kinect Multitouch

Built on Ubuntu Linux using libfreenect and libTISCH.

Kinect Object Recognition

All of the processing and recognition occurs in real time. Using OpenKinect + OpenCV + FestVox

Kinect 3D Depth + Color

By combining the color and the depth image you can project the image back into space and create a “holographic” representation of the persons or objects that were captured.

ofxKinect 3D draw 001

First tests of playing with Kinect on OSX. Thanks to libfreenect and ofxKinect for openFrameworks. One hand draws in 3D, two hands rotates the view. Very rough prototype. Lots of fun!

Face Pong. It’s like Pong, but with your face.

Face PONG from Matt Ditton on Vimeo.


Nice bit of tracking so you can use your face as the main input.

Written using the OpenCV library for processing.

Matt Ditton is hands on with quite of different things. Programming, photography, indie games development, tech art, environment modeler, university lecturer, DVA student. To find out more, see and his Flickr here. Not bad eh.


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