Instructables
Picture of Kinect Hacking (Article)
When Microsoft released it's Kinect system for the Xbox 360 it was hoping to give a boost to the console and sell plenty of games. It certainly hit that target with some brisk sales, but the real surprise was that the Kinect's powerful technology also became a useful tool for programmers. Within a week of its release, the Kinect had become a fantastic high-tech DIY toy with a life of its own and it was all thanks to a worldwide network of hackers and a bounty of cash.

This article is one in a series of Instructables articles about DIY technology. The full list can be seen here.
 
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Step 1: All about control

Picture of All about control
For many years, video game controllers were straightforward: push a joystick to move and hit a button to jump or fire. Successive generations of gaming consoles added more buttons, another joystick, and a d-pad or two, but for the most part gamers were still moving sticks around and pushing on buttons. The evolution of the peripheral had a slow and steady pace.

In 2006, Nintendo shook this up with its release of the Wii console. In addition to the buttons and joysticks, the controllers could also detect motion. So instead of button pushes for actions, gamers were mimicking what was happening on the screen. Swings of the controller became bowling, baseball, and even dancing. These intuitive controls enabled lots of non-gamers to play, even becoming popular with senior citizens, and pushed sales of the console past 70 million worldwide.

Two groups were paying close attention to the Wii: Microsoft and hackers. Microsoft saw the potential in freeing gamers from controllers and started the Kinect project, originally known as Project Natal. With the Kinect, a pair of cameras record video and depth and are able to combine the information to precisely see the player's body position. Now no controllers were needed at all and gamers could play just by moving around.

Meanwhile, hackers saw the Wii's controllers as wonderful tools that were dying to be put to use for things besides games, such as head-tracking, virtual whiteboards, and controlling a 15-ton robotic arm. One such hacker, Johnny Lee, made such cool use of the Wii that he was hired on by Microsoft for the Kinect.


Cool article, I didn't know all that background! Thanks for posting
GASSYPOOTS2 years ago
that looks like VISTA!!!!!!!!!!!!
whats with the speach about wii mote hacks that has notihng to do with kinect hacks
you are mistaken, the Wii remote hacks opened up the ability to back the kinect later on.
Chowmix123 years ago
The kinect detects distances not by brightness of the dot array, but by the distances between the dots. on the object.
howitgoes (author)  Chowmix123 years ago
Corrected. Got some misinfo from MS. Ah well. The process is called structured light.
his breathing is a bit annoying
Ssslouter3 years ago
you've published 3 ibles (maybe more) today, all about different topics and are all just videos you found on youtube. If you want to make a good ible, LEARN ABOUT THE SUBJECT FIRST.
Agreed. This showed taught me nothing about how to get started in kinect hacking nor was it anything more than a article. The author did no original work at all in this.
Yes, it's an article. As was stated in the intro.
Articles are good, if thet teach you something. If i would have wanted to hack a kinect i would find these videos in 5 minutes on youtube. The author has probably never hacked a kinect, made a drone, printed anything in 3d, or done any of the other 3 " articles". Guess what, i could go on google, type in quantum physics copy and paste the text and make an "article" on it here, what good is it to anyone?
howitgoes (author)  Ssslouter3 years ago
First off, these are a series of articles written by staff at Instructables. Thus the featuring and the guide. Nobody is trying to spam you or lie to you. There is also no other format that we have here for this type of thing so it's in the Instructable format even if it's not a tutorial.

Second, you're really upset about those videos as you've commented on them a couple of times. There's more information here than just the videos. I'm not saying it's an epic article of magnificent proportions, but I did what I could to place the Kinect in context with other things happening and add a bit more to it. It's a story that I've followed for quite a while and find pretty interesting.

As for copying and pasting, I do admit that I copied and pasted the embed code for the youtube videos. Trying to reinterpret that would've led to some errors.

Finally, I hate to break it to you, but many articles that are written are done by people who haven't actually done what they are talking about. Personally, I have a lot of experience with three of the six topics.

If you're still upset, I'll understand. I do appreciate you laying off of the caps lock this time, though. That was nice.
I can perfectly understand his consternation. How was he meant to know that you are a member of staff at Instructables? Your Instructables member page doesn't give any clues that you're a staff member.

Saying "there's no other format that we have here for this type of thing" is a huge cop-out. So they can pay someone to write "articles" but not a developer to implement an "Article" format? Right. Perhaps Instructables could shelve the "Article" concept until they can sort this out.


There are hundreds of other instances where some random (non-staff) Instructables member has posted other peoples' youtube videos, flickr photos and added a bare minimum of original content which leaves everyone wondering why the hell they clicked on the link in their RSS feed.

Many, if not all, of those Instructables were removed. Would they now be allowed to stay, simply by virtue of having the word "article" in the Intro step? This "article" is indistinguishable from any of those other wastes of bandwidth and it is annoying to click on an Instructable in my RSS reader with the title "Kinect Hacking" only to be shown this.

Finally, I hate to break it to you, but many articles that are written are done by people who haven't actually done what they are talking about. Personally, I have a lot of experience with three of the six topics.
This is great, but I, and many others, come to Instructables to see, well....Instructables. i.e. people posting their original project photos, videos etc. with step by step instructions.

If you do only one thing, can you please make sure in future that the titles of these "Articles" to include the word "article"?
howitgoes (author)  adamazing3 years ago
Thanks for the feedback and taking the time to write out your thoughts. This series is a bit of an experiment.

No clue as to being a staff member? Good point, will change.

Money for an article, but not for dev time? Yes, yes, and yes. There are lots of things that we'd like to do around here to grow and improve the site. Adding a new form of content would require nav changes, UI fun, and a change to the editor. It looks smaller than it really is.

Others like this? There are such instructables as you mention and they do get removed. However, the reason is often that there is barely anything beyond a youtube video. Also, many of those are people falsely trying to get credit for what was in the photos or videos, passing it off as their own work.

Include "article" in the title to avoid confusion and set expectations? Sure.
I'm not sure how much my input here will matter being that I'm not a very active member and have posted no instructables myself(yet) but I agree with adamazing and at the same time wasn't bothered by any of the problems mentioned as I take everything I read on the internet with a grain of salt anyway.

However, unless I'm missing an entire section of this website(which is possible since I browse at work) there is no instructables blog. Wouldn't something like that even if fed from one of the popular blog sites to instructables cut the cost issue at least a little?
I approve of this article.

I don't think I can nock up a tutorial for getting into the hacking just yet, but please, if anyone else can do so.
If you look at the profile, you can see that it was created by Instructables staff.
There are six in all. The link in the intro shows a guide for the rest. These articles are all from Instructables. While they aren't Instructables, this is the only way on the site to present an article.

Not sure about the comment about these just being videos. There's information about the history and the bounty which was not in the videos.
Ghost Wolf3 years ago
howitgoes (author)  Ghost Wolf3 years ago
There are lots and lots of videos out there now. I could add more, but didn't want to fill up the page. Maybe I will, though. On that link there's the puppet video which is also in the video above. The Minority Report one is interesting, but I've just seen that effect so many times now it's like the "hello, world" of user interfaces.