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WE'RE LIVING IN THE FUTURE
December 9, 2010 1:50 PM   Subscribe

When the Xbox Kinect (previously) was released a month ago, it promised a new era of controller-less gaming. The system is certainly selling well heading into the holidays, but reviews so far are mixed. The minor injuries are expected, but with some less than impressive early game releases, some think that the system is only partially living up to its pre-release hype. But what happens when open source software fanatics get their hands on this new technology?

First, a $3000 bounty was offered to the first person to write a driver for the Kinect (this would allow anyone to interface the device with their computer, freeing it for their own use. Think smartphone jailbreaking. Previously on MeFi). Microsoft protested, but the driver was written in days and the bounty awarded within the week. Despite their protestations, Microsoft decided not to pursue legal action. The open source Kinect community takes off running.

So what can you do with a jailbroken Kinect? Well, you can render 3D images in real time, either with a double Kinect setup, or with some strategically placed mirrors. Or you could pilot an unmanned flying machine. Or you could personalize a decade-old meme.

Of course, as with all new technology, the potential for more "intimate" uses was seen immediately [SFW]. Though the Kinect can't resolve a average sized dildo, it can make out masturbatory movements [SFW]. And it can definitely track other sexy parts [SFW but man-boob alert]. The aptly named Slashdong [NSFW] has the complete rundown.

Or, you know, we could just sit back and enjoy the ride while Kinect hackers take us straight to THE FUTURE.

Some links [via]
posted by auto-correct (38 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
She says the jungle living room... it just came alive and took him.
posted by griphus at 1:59 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


You ever wonder what the bottom of an avatar's shoe looks like?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2010


Microsoft protested

Well, let's face it, it's more random person CNET phoned out of the blue who probably didn;t even know what CNET were talking about rattled off some half hearted leagalese then everyone else bigged it up.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you want a vision of the future of gaming, imagine frantically waiving your hands to hit an imaginary ball - forever.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:09 PM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


a friend of mine in the videogame industry once opined to us that the old metric of Time To Crate (ie. time from the start of a FPS to when you see your first crate with a powerup or health potion or whatever) has a mutation in the world of user-generated content: Time To Cock, which is how long between when a company allows theirs users to generate content and when the first user submits something involving a penis.

In most cases, this is less than 24 hours.
posted by bl1nk at 2:10 PM on December 9, 2010 [12 favorites]


I would like the man in the "less than impressive" link to sit around at my parties doing exactly that.
posted by cmoj at 2:10 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hard to believe something for the Xbox would not live up to the hype.
posted by zzazazz at 2:12 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


They day I play a motion based game is the day they pry my controller from my cold dead hands.
posted by GavinR at 2:22 PM on December 9, 2010


Well, GavinR, I just bought the rights to make a game out of Weekend At Bernies and I'm sure we can work something out.
posted by griphus at 2:25 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't event realize you were allowed to mention Time To Crate without linking to Old Man Murray.

I haven't broken down and bought one yet, but I do like the virtual puppet stuff. If I was still a student interested in robotics I'd be all over this.
posted by ecurtz at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2010


Once I figured out what was going on in the "less than impressive" video, I was delighted. What a fun game!
posted by mr_roboto at 2:39 PM on December 9, 2010


Last week, I was excited by all of these videos and quickly unplugged the Kinect from the XBox and ran over to the side of my Macbook Pro to discover I had absolutely no way to plug it in.

I'm still not sure how these people connect to the Kinect. It seems like an Off-USB plug.
posted by Brainy at 2:39 PM on December 9, 2010


I just want to say that for me big part of "the future" arrived with Dance Central and Kinect Adventure's Reflex Ridge.
I don't even have a Kinect (or an xbox for that matter) but a friend has one and playing with it is a joy, especially in multiplayer. The whole open-source thing just adds even more possibilities to it.
posted by Memo at 2:40 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


So what can you do with a jailbroken Kinect?

Technically incorrect. Just because someone wrote an open-source driver for a different platform doesn't make it "jailbroken" anymore than getting my printer working in Ubuntu "jailbreaks" it.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:48 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have to agree with Memo about the future being here. From what I've seen, the average time for a non-gamer to adapt to Dance Central is practically nothing. The fun it's caused is Wii-like in amount, but with less of a learning curve. And the 3D model of the gamer + video projection on top makes Your Shape: Fitness Evolved REALLY feel like the future. You're in the game. Not an avatar. You. (I can't find any pictures of this, I tried really hard)
posted by Brainy at 2:52 PM on December 9, 2010


This initiative (via Adafruit) by one of the companies behind the Kinect middleware seems really exciting. Microsoft has got to be gnashing their teeth about whether to shut them down after their waffling regarding the initial bounty.
posted by ecurtz at 2:55 PM on December 9, 2010


I'm still not sure how these people connect to the Kinect. It seems like an Off-USB plug.

If you have the new XBox the Kinect connects to it using a weird port for data transfer and power. (Presumably the Kinect needs more juice than a regular USB port can handle.)

For older XBoxes, they connect via a regular USB cable and a separate power brick. That set of cables only comes with the standalone Kinect (or sold as a separate kit), so if you got the Kinect as part of an XBox bundle, you'll have to buy the cable kit.
posted by kmz at 3:00 PM on December 9, 2010


I kind of think this will be what Microsoft will be remembered for. In 500 years all the trivia will be forgotten or relegated to historians but this is a big one.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:01 PM on December 9, 2010


While there are only a couple of good games for it now (Dance Central for sure, Kinect Adventures is a decent party game, etc), personally I think it lived up to the hype. By which I really mean: when it was announced, I was sure this would be a huge failure. But the tracking / recognition / etc aspects are _really_ impressive, and it's a whole generation beyond what PS3 and Wii are doing.

And remember, it's only been out for like a month. Anyone familiar with console gaming knows that games often get much better in the first couple years because it takes developers a while to really exploit the platform. I expect to see even better stuff in the future, especially since sales have definitely been robust enough to warrant developing for it (some developers and studios probably held off to make sure people would actually buy the hardware!).
posted by wildcrdj at 3:06 PM on December 9, 2010


The Kinect has huge potential outside of games: for assisting blind people, and for 3D-scanning buildings for architectural purposes, to give just two examples.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:32 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: nah it'll still be the BSOD .
posted by panaceanot at 3:37 PM on December 9, 2010


All launch software (with the exception of Wii Sports) is sort of meh. The only question is whether non-meh software will ever be made.

The interesting thing about OpenKinect is that it's allowing people to remain excited even without the actual products coming out.
posted by effugas at 3:57 PM on December 9, 2010


3D-scanning buildings for architectural purposes

please please yes
posted by yesster at 5:15 PM on December 9, 2010


My friend & one-time coworker Rojas has been in the thick of this lately. I dug this one.
posted by brennen at 5:34 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


kmz, I meant to the computer. My kinecXbox is running fine.
posted by Brainy at 5:45 PM on December 9, 2010


Movie title or techno trend?

1. When Worlds Collide
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. When open source software fanatics get their hands on this new technology
posted by storybored at 8:22 PM on December 9, 2010


Kinect is the beginning of the singularity.
posted by Evilspork at 8:56 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


kmz, I meant to the computer. My kinecXbox is running fine.

Right, what I'm saying though is you want the kit that has the regular USB cable in order to connect it to your computer.
posted by kmz at 9:20 PM on December 9, 2010


Well, I'm pretty sure the sentence "The computer searches for my manboobs" hasn't been used before in the history of the English language.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:13 PM on December 9, 2010


Time To Cock, which is how long between when a company allows theirs users to generate content and when the first user submits something involving a penis.

In most cases, this is less than 24 hours.

posted by bl1nk

As someone who works in the industry, I can tell you that any user generated penises have categorically been pre-empted by months of concept/alpha/beta/final QA penises.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:39 AM on December 10, 2010


Extra Credits : "Kinect & Move"

or

How the success or failure of these new products may affect gaming as a whole.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:48 AM on December 10, 2010


I usually don't play any games but Rockband and platformers. We had the Wii, but then sold it on eBay because we just didn't play it. (The workout games even weren't good.)

BUT I LOVE THE WORKOUT GAMES FOR THE KINECT! After my first session of controller-less personal training, I was yelling at the Kinect to stop telling me to get my lunges and squats lower. My knees higher. My abs more flexed. But then I saw improvement!

I don't live in a city; workout classes are far away. However, with Kinect I can wake up at 3am and do kickboxing... or get my personal workout in even if I get off work late. I seriously love Kinect.

(And although you would think the opposite, this post was not sponsored in any way.)
posted by Kronur at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2010


All launch software (with the exception of Wii Sports) is sort of meh.

Nintendo consoles usually provide an exception to the rule (and it's usually a Mario game). The Dreamcast launched with Soul Calibur. There are other exceptions, too. But yeah, broadly speaking, console launch titles aren't specifically very good.
posted by box at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2010


I agree about launch titles usually being uninspiring. The most interesting uses of the Playstation Move have been in tech demos rather than games intended for sale. Take a look at this video; it starts to get interesting at the 2:00 mark, and even more so at 4:00. Maybe we'll see games built around these uses, but it'll take a while. (Although this game is a promising start.)

I imagine the Move is harder to hack than the Kinect because a lot of the information is sent over Bluetooth, but I'm sure the open source community could think of lots of interesting things to do with it.
posted by frankchess at 1:14 PM on December 10, 2010


You knwo how much use my Wii balance board gets these days?

Sigh...
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on December 10, 2010


Here's some more fun stuff if anyone's interested. I could watch Kinect hacks all day (and I do!).
posted by auto-correct at 3:00 PM on December 16, 2010


The future is definitely here. Cheap motion capture!
posted by Memo at 8:20 AM on December 20, 2010


Kinect + VR headset - used to play something that looks and sounds mindbendingly horrible. But still, impressive.
posted by Artw at 12:39 AM on December 23, 2010


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