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US$3,000 bounty claimed for open source Kinect drivers


November 10, 2010

Hector Martin shows off the Kinect drivers that pocketed him US$3,000

Hector Martin shows off the Kinect drivers that pocketed him US$3,000

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The race to claim the bounty offered by Adafruit for open source drivers for Microsoft’s Kinect has been run and won. The winner is hacker Hector Martin whose achievement of producing drivers to pull depth and RGB camera data from a Kinect is made even more impressive by the fact that it came just three hours after the European launch of the device.

Martin wasn’t the first to hack the device, with that title being taken by an Natural User Interface (NUI) group member who doesn’t plan to release the exploit as open source until a US$10,000 donation fund is filled up. But Martin was the first to upload his drivers and have them verified to claim the Adafruit bounty.

Martin completed the task on a laptop running Linux that displays the depth and color RGB images in an OpenGL window. He admits that his solution is “hacky” at the moment but proves the concept and says it paves the way for the Kinect to be used for robotics, art, science and education purposes.

The bounty started out at US$1,000 but was doubled to $2,000 after some needling by Microsoft. Following another comment from Microsoft saying it would “work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant,” Adafruit decided to increase the bounty once more to a total of $3,000 for the winner.

Additionally, recognizing that if Microsoft followed up on its threats the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF would likely be their only hope in defending their hacking rights, Adafruit also threw a $2,000 donation to the EFF into the mix.

Martin says he will invest his winnings in hacking tools and devices for a group of people, including iPhone Dev Team members and Wii hacker team Team Twiizers, with whom he works closely.

Martin's winning open source drivers can be downloaded here.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

"work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant," Translation - \"We don\'t want anyone using Kinect with anyone else\'s game console or computers.\"

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Personally, I think that Microsoft\'s decision is a good one, because I don\'t see why a non Open source project should be used for something else other than the desingers intended it. Surely they will make applications for military and medical uses, but that is up to them to work with someone. I don\'t have a problem against hacking, but using someone else\'s tech to make things of your own without asking them (that is if you plan to retail that something...) is wrong.

Lupoi Alexandru-Nicolae

@Lupoi Alexandru-Nicoale: According to your screwed up logic, is it also wrong for someone to purchase a newspaper from a gas station and then use it to start a camp fire? Technology or not, scientists, researchers, chemists, and out of box thinkers alike thrive on using products for which they were not originally intended.

Do you think string was originally intended for fishing, or radio waves for cell phones, or ink for printers? No, someone took a simple idea and thought outside the box- They utilized existing TECHNOLOGIES to create bigger and better products and tools. It\'s not stealing, it\'s common sense and natural human \"evolution\". The manufacturer of the product STILL gets paid so why do they- Or should I say, why do YOU have such an odd opinion on the matter?

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