Group offers $2,000 bounty for open source Kinect drivers

Microsoft’s new Kinect for the Xbox 360 is expected to be a huge seller this holiday season.  The technology packed inside of the little bar is advanced but currently can only be used on the Xbox 360.

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone would start working on a way to use Microsoft’s new device in new and unique ways, and it now appears that Adafruit Industries is offering a $2,000 “bounty” to anyone who writes an open source driver that allows Kinect to work on a Windows, Linux, or MacOS platform in addition to the Xbox 360.

The group first posted a $1,000 reward for the drivers.  Shortly thereafter, Microsoft sent a letter to CNET telling them that, “Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products.”  This prompted Adafruit, run by MIT Media Lab alumni Limor Fried and Make magazine Senior Editor Phillip Torrone, to increase the bounty up to $2,000 with a threat that they may up it to $3,000.

This situation brings up an interesting question on what consumers can and can not do with products that they purchase.  The reward for drivers does not ask users to physically modify the Kinect, so no modification of the product will occur.  On the other hand, reverse engineering of the product will be required and that is probably what Microsoft will fight against.  Don’t be surprised if the DMCA comes into play in this debate.

How long will it take for someone to write a working driver for this device under Windows, Linux, or MacOS?

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