Kinect hack brings a galaxy far, far away a little closer to home

The official Star Wars Kinect game may not be set for release until Christmas next year, but that hasn't stopped one enterprising user from bringing a touch of the Force to Microsoft's motion controller.

Engadget reports that ''Yankeyan'' took one wooden stick, the OpenKinect drivers and OpenCV computer vision library and created the closest thing many of us will get to wielding a weapon from ''a more civilised age''. Yankeyan's program tracks the stick in realtime and overlays a lightsaber image onto it.

Meantime, another user, dubbed ''Ben X Tan'' has created a ''human MIDI controller'' using the Kinect. The controller converts hand-waving to MIDI notes and draws on the Australian's previous Pmidic MIDI controller, which used light sources to control input.

The latest Kinect tricks mark an ongoing effort by the open-source community to find alternative uses for the motion controller. In the fortnight since Kinect launched in the US, users have demonstrated uses including as a ''handsfree multitouch'' input device for a PC and as a 3D webcam able to create a live 3D "model" of a room and everything in it. Kinect has also been demoed as a controller for Windows 7 and as a motion capture device.

Apparently spurred by the range of innovative uses users were finding for their device, Microsoft last week clarified its position on Kinect ''hacking'', saying Kinect's USB interface was left open ''by design'' and the company was ''inspired'' by the community's efforts.

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33 Comments

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blade1269 said,
M$ Just waits till somebody does the work then Sues them in to submission, then claims it was theres to being with.

Nothing to $ue for here, it'$ original work. Microsoft ha$ already $tated that they are fine with thi$. (:

Interesting, but note how slow he moves it? I doubt the Kinect is fast enough to track quick stick movements, such as you would HAVE to have in a Star Wars game, or making a parody movie...

FloatingFatMan said,
Interesting, but note how slow he moves it? I doubt the Kinect is fast enough to track quick stick movements, such as you would HAVE to have in a Star Wars game, or making a parody movie...

Kinect can track as fast as their camera's can catpure (60fps/30fps). It's just that slow simply because he's a homebrew developer working with unofficial experimental drivers, with his own experimental code. None of it optimised for proper usage in any way yet, it's still early days for the PC community

FloatingFatMan said,
Interesting, but note how slow he moves it? I doubt the Kinect is fast enough to track quick stick movements, such as you would HAVE to have in a Star Wars game, or making a parody movie...

Use one before you bash it, it seems to track my movements just fine in the games I have...jumping, dodging, dancing, etc...

Hm, now I can foresee down the road possible game reality mixtures.

I can picture holding a actual [plastic] gun and knife and shooting the opponents [using actual iron sights] instead of holding a box [and pointing] or moving stupid little joy sticks around. That is not true realism (even know the games are fantastic graphics, its just not 'real'). Holding the gun and knife would be amazing, much better 'accuracy' of ones actual skill. A modern aged duck hunt .
Cant wait

guru said,
stupid MS should release Kinect diver for PC's already

You think they have time for that? Honestly? They've barely managed to get Xbox drivers out after 2 years of research and development, on a high performance single hardware configuration gaming machine. Where are you expecting them to magic Windows drivers out from? They don't have the resources at the moment, and they're still working on optimising the Xbox implementation anyway. Windows drivers will come, but you have to give them a lot of time.

~Johnny said,

They don't have the resources at the moment, and they're still working on optimising the Xbox implementation anyway. Windows drivers will come, but you have to give them a lot of time.

So, you are saying that Microsoft, with their many thousands of employees don't have the resources to do what a handful of hobbyists have managed to do in less than a month (with no official documentation, no less)?

roadwarrior said,

So, you are saying that Microsoft, with their many thousands of employees don't have the resources to do what a handful of hobbyists have managed to do in less than a month (with no official documentation, no less)?

Hobbyest haven't achieved anything near what Microsoft have done - Microsoft have spent millions researching and developing live motion skeletal tracking, and advanced movement prediction and machine learning algorithms, with less than something like a 10ms delay time, put into a simple, easy to use developers API. Most of their thousands of employees wouldn't even know where to start with some of the research that's gone into it - but they'd certainly be able to use the API's Microsoft have provided

Hobbyist have simply displayed the 3D output on screen (which isn't particularly hard consider the camera & depth sensor is providing you with the raw 3D data anyway), and overlaid some light onto a stick - nothing near what Microsoft have accomplished - though it's still a notable accomplishment, it's not in the same league.

It wouldn't even be particularly hard to overlay a stick with light in theory either - you look through the raw 3D data, and find a set of points that are particularly "stick" like - i.e. long and thin, and then overlay a beam of light onto the camera footage in the area that stick is being detected - and the developer probably only really has it properly working from a stick of similar dimensions. It's certain;y very cool, and certainly required quite a bit of thought and skill to pull off - but it's nowhere near as complicated as what Microsoft are pulling off.

Edited by ~Johnny, Nov 23 2010, 2:44pm :

xbamaris said,
who needs After Effects when you have Kinect.

Ohhh yeah. I know how to do my next Star Wars parody

im sure parents would love to have their kids swinging 4 foot sticks around in the living room lol. but i guess "holding" a lightsaber for the actual game might be a little different

APAstyle said,
im sure parents would love to have their kids swinging 4 foot sticks around in the living room lol. but i guess "holding" a lightsaber for the actual game might be a little different

Haha! Good laugh : )

So he coded it so it could track the stick, basically showing how MS could have tracked a controller. Maybe some future titles will come with some controller that Kinect will track for those more specific titles that must have controllers.

wow. not even a month into release and i see so many great things coming from it. good thing MS is open to people playing around with it

Quick Shot said,
wow. not even a month into release and i see so many great things coming from it. good thing MS is open to people playing around with it

MS has no choice, really. There's no copyright or IP infringement here.

david said,
Seen this 3 days ago....

Didn't feel like helping Neowin by submitting the news and video to them 3 days ago?

In professional journalism, you CAN still get 3 days late news. Don't expect much better in unprofessional journalism...