Microsoft's Kinect motion-controller for the Xbox 360 has only been available for sale for a couple of days now and it seems that quite a few “security engineers” have already started tinkering with its insides, since the first hack for this brand-new accessory has already been outed, probably much to the manufacturer's dismay.
So, as Neowin reports, Adafruit Industries, a New-York based company, offered since last week a 2,000 US dollars prize for the person or group who came up with an open source Kinect driver hack that could bring the technology to other platforms outside of Xbox360.
And sure enough, the first person that might claim the prize has already made its grand entrance, proving that there's really nothing out there that can't be...well, tweaked, after some careful tinkering.
So, user AlexP from the NUI Group forums (former EyeToy hacker) has posted a quick video depicting the Kinect connected to a PC running Windows 7 and delivering more or less the same level of functionality as when connected to an Xbox 360.
The video shows quite clearly that the Kinect follows the user's movements and feeds the real-time accelerometer data to a monitoring application running on the PC.
However, it would seem that Alex P's ingenious hack has nothing to do with the aforementioned prize, the researcher doing it purely for the fun of it and not planning to make the information pertaining to the hacking process public (Microsoft would deeply resent that, we're pretty sure of at least that much, and would take all the necessary steps from preventing it to go public).
However, if one person proved that hacking the Kinect isn't that difficult, then others will probably follow, eventually developing a publicly-available solution.
On the other hand, Microsoft itself might decide to come up with a solution that will “release” the Kinect to be used with other devices as well (hopefully, at least Windows-running PCs), but I guess that this is just wishful thinking, for the time being.