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Strong Contender Already For Adafruit's Kinect Challenge

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the wave-your-hands-in-the-air dept.

Hardware Hacking 86

sammyF70 writes "Adafruit's bounty on open source drivers for Microsoft's Kinect may have been already won. Someone called 'KinectMan2' has posted videos of Kinect's output as seen on Windows 7 to YouTube. That was fast. Hopefully Linux drivers are coming soon." A few more details are available on a forum post the man made. Adafruit said the bounty could be his if he posts the source code, and they also upped the reward to $3,000 in response to another silly statement from Microsoft.

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What's the hard part? (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171246)

The internal OS is WinCE, so the interface is either serial or USB.

Beyond that, there isn't much to it besides identifying the commands and responses. MS isn't particularly deft in hiding their protocols.

Re:What's the hard part? (4, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171532)

The internal OS is WinCE, so the interface is either serial or USB.

The internal OS of what? The Kinect? Unlikely. Check the iFixit teardown [ifixit.com] . The device is pretty basic in terms of processing capabilities, relying on the Xbox to do most of the heavy lifting. Or are you referring to the Xbox? If so, you're still wrong. The Xbox 360 OS is not Windows CE [windowsfordevices.com] . About the closest you can come to comparing it to another existing OS is by looking at its lineage. The Xbox 360 OS was derived from the original Xbox OS, which in turn was derived from Windows 2000. The extent that the Xbox 360 OS resembles Windows 2000 is almost certainly miniscule at this point, as it runs on an architecture that is not supported by the Windows codebase and does not need most of the core functionality of a Windows OS (shell, explorer, etc). There are probably some bits and pieces of Windows 2000 kernel code still lurking around somewhere, but aside from exposing DirectX and some minimal win32 functionality [msdn.com] that's really about it.

Re:What's the hard part? (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171590)

The Marvell AP102 chip (PXA3xx series SOC) runs the OS on the Kinect side. There's no way the XBox could keep up with the necessary processing on its own.

Re:What's the hard part? (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173318)

The Marvell AP102 chip (PXA3xx series SOC) runs the OS on the Kinect side. There's no way the XBox could keep up with the necessary processing on its own.

I was going to look up the chip myself and reply but you beat me to it.

The Kinect has on-board processing, and probably doesn't send raw image data alone back to the 360. Without offloading this processing to the Kinect itself, the 360 games using it would be if nothing else, severely penalized in available RAM from the image data processing.

Re:What's the hard part? (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172120)

The extent that the Xbox 360 OS resembles Windows 2000 is almost certainly miniscule at this point, as it runs on an architecture that is not supported by the Windows codebase and does not need most of the core functionality of a Windows OS (shell, explorer, etc).

NT4 had full PPC support, and Windows 2000 maintained at least some portability features because there was a release for Alpha. In addition, DirectX has to run on the Xbox operating system. For these reasons and others (being able to build the same game for Xbox 360 or for PC) it is a virtual certainty that the Xbox OS still deserves to be called Windows NT. It runs the same damned software!

Re:What's the hard part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34184014)

Keyword: HAL
Just build proper HAL, and, if you are not using platform specific instructions, youre done.

Re:What's the hard part? (4, Informative)

Bryan3000000 (1356999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174530)

It would have been possible for you to respond much more directly to that statement. The iFixit article makes it very clear that the Kinect does pretty hefty onboard processing, resulting in sending a color image and a depth map over what is essentially USB. It's pretty clear that the depth map essentially includes recognition of object positions which is calibrated onboard the Kinect with the information from the microphones, so that the information send to the XBox includes object position along with pre-processed audio for the position of any object. It appears that the Kinect recognizes you as an object and will pan to center you better in the frame all by itself. Did you even look at the array of discrete processors on page 2 of the article? While it may be doubtful that the Kinect runs WinCE, it's quite clear that the XBox does NOT do most of the heavy lifting in processing the image and sound data. Quite the opposite - it looks as though the Kinect provides quite a lot of processed information along with a relatively small amount of raw data. There are no doubt some control commands from the XBox without which the Kinect will not function (i.e. it won't operate by itself with just power), but this most likely is fairly simple message passing which can be reverse engineered with relative ease.

If I were in the position to do so, I would get an in-line logic analyzer just to look at it myself.

Re:What's the hard part? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34181284)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, it the problem with slashdot mods. This information is clearly wrong - the Kinect does the heavy lifting here (as outlined in the various responses) but somehow this guy gets +5 informative.

Streisand effect? (2, Interesting)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171270)

Microsoft issued a pretty nasty response [cnet.com] the last time this was posted in the public. That could have... helped.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171288)

The response seems prettty vague. Sort of

"MS isn't going to waste time finding out what this is. We'll just make some vague threats in case at some point in the future we think it might be harmful, just so there's no implicit endorsement"

Re:Streisand effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172676)

"Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products"

From the CNET article... The racist in me wants to call Microsoft an "Indian Giver," but the sociopath in me wants to publicly execute people who would part me from my money while maintaining ownership rights to my purchase.

Re:Streisand effect? (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171306)

I just read the reply, and my reaction was "Oh please!"

What the fuck could MS lose if the Kinect driver is open-sourced? Hackers will still need to buy the unit itself. "Tamper-resistant"? The Hell? They placed an explosive charge in it, or why do they have to make it tamper-proof? If someone wants to tamper with it, they probably know enough to disable/circumvent/subvert the safeguards, and if the can't, they probably wouldn't mess around with it in the first place

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171314)

They'll lose potential income from games sales.
If you buy a Kinect and use it for something else than an Xbox360, chances are you aren't buying games either.

Personally, I don't care about that argument, but just saying.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171330)

Clearly MS thinks no income from Kinect sales is better than income from Kinect sales without games...

I didn't take a lot of Economy at university, but I thought corps are supposed to maximize their profits, and achieving any sort of sale counts toward that... But I see your point.

Re:Streisand effect? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171378)

MS also wants third party developers to develop for Kinect... it helps if they can convince third party developers that lots of Kinect sales implies lots of Kinects hooked up to XBoxes.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171460)

I didn't take a lot of Economy at university, but I thought corps are supposed to maximize their profits, and achieving any sort of sale counts toward that... But I see your point.

Lots of console hardware is sold at a loss to help game sales. See PS3, Xbox360 until recently. Every Playstation bought to run Linux and do number crunching was partially subsidized by Sony.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171536)

Those Sony subsidies went to product recognition and goodwill until they decided to first remove "Other OS" from newer models then remove it in the field from existing models that accepted the wrong Sony-published firmware update.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171586)

The thing is £150 for a couple of motion sensors and a camera. If they're selling that at a loss then they're doing something VERY wrong. Besides, selling at a loss is idiotic. What's to stop Sony buying up every single Kinect and setting fire to them, it will cost MS a ton of money and nobody will be buying their games, so they can write off the alleged $150m they spent developing the thing.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

sub67 (979309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172402)

The thing is £150 for a couple of motion sensors and a camera. If they're selling that at a loss then they're doing something VERY wrong.

I think you're not considering microsoft's r&d costs as something that may help $150 for each kinect sale amount to a loss when factored in.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173238)

I think you're not considering microsoft's r&d costs as something that may help $150 for each kinect sale amount to a loss when factored in.

R&D costs approach zero as a factor in the final product cost when volume goes high enough. Selling more units, even without associated game sales, only serves to lower the per-unit fixed cost overhead.

They could also take a much more basic economic approach, rather than waving the legal stick - Bundle the hardware with a must-have game, so actual game-buyers don't see it as costing more, but hardware-only purchasers end up with a game they don't want and can't even give away (because everyone else already has it because of the bundling).

So overall... Stupid on MS's part, but not even remotely surprising.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

huckamania (533052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173974)

MS is just waiting for the technology to mature, using their large XBox360 install base as their beta testers. V2.0 will not have the lag and will have solved a lot of other problems. V3.0 will be integrated into all of the next versions of Windows.

I, for one, would love to be able to use the voice commands and also the use of gestures. The 3 fingered salute could be simplified to one finger.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

ranulf (182665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171468)

I take it you haven't considered that they might sell Kinect at a loss, knowing that they'll (eventually) make back that money after you buy a couple of Kinect games. It's exactly the same thing Microsoft and Sony do with consoles too and after 4+ years they're only just making a profit on their consoles. Nintendo, on the other hand, are in the fortunate position of having always sold the Wii at a profit.

Re:Streisand effect? (3, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172252)

People and companies behave oddly, very unlike what they're supposed to according the economic theory.

For instance, the inventor of novocaine is reported to have tried to stop its usage for dentistry, because he thought that it was too mundane of an use and wanted it used for grand surgery. People seem to have this idea that they decide what their invention is good for, and not the people who pay for it.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172954)

I didn't take a lot of Economy at university, but I thought corps are supposed to maximize their profits

Any economy course in high school teaches about the razor / blade model. Companies will sell you the latest Mach 7 Closest Shave Plus handle at a loss in order to sell you their replacable blades at a good markup. Perhaps it's more vogue on Slashdot to discuss ink jet printer manufacturers selling their printers at a loss (doesn't that start to explain the quality?) in order to sell you refill cartridges at a healthy profit later. Drawing the parallel between these "loss leader" models and the game system model is an exercise to the reader.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173114)

I never got the razor and blade model. To me it doesn't seem to work like that.

When I buy a razor, the blade is what I'm really interested in and really paying for. It's where the real functionality is and what makes all the difference from one maker or model to another. The handle is just a cheap piece of plastic or metal. They don't even have to sell it at a loss, it costs a few cents anyway.

Now with printers, it's different. The printer itself is what has the real funcionality and what defines the quality, speed and other aspects of the output. The ink on the other hand is relatively unimportant. So long it's up to spec and doesn't clog the heads or smudge, any ink is as good as any other.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173340)

When I buy a razor, the blade is what I'm really interested in and really paying for. It's where the real functionality is and what makes all the difference from one maker or model to another. The handle is just a cheap piece of plastic or metal. They don't even have to sell it at a loss, it costs a few cents anyway.

On its face, your statement is very valid and may be true. If packaging and transportation are the dominant factors, however, the far larger handle and "necessary" package for logos and eye catching (most aren't cheap monochrome boxes, there's almost always metal foil on them) my indeed be more expensive.

Now with printers, it's different. The printer itself is what has the real funcionality and what defines the quality, speed and other aspects of the output. The ink on the other hand is relatively unimportant. So long it's up to spec and doesn't clog the heads or smudge, any ink is as good as any other.

Sadly, printer manufacturers have no such warranty with regard to clogging or quality control. A single individual jet is almost guaranteed to fail within a few weeks. People shop based on reviews of a printer in the first few hours of operation and based on the sticker price. Honestly, neither of those are dominant factors in a printer that we want to last for 2 years and 3-4 cartridges that should last 6 months. The reality is that printers are sold at a loss, or darn near it, with the understanding that you'll buy at least one refill pack when you buy the printer, and probably another in 6 months before you get fed up and get a new one or decide to print it at the laser printer at work.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Insightful)

hazydave (96747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173790)

Guess I buy a different class of printer... I have several, some years old, and never had a problem with jets clogging. Incidently, only Epson sells printers with fixed jet nozzles. When you buy an HP or Lexmark, you get new jets with every cartridge. Canon splits the difference... the ink tanks are sold individually, but you can replace the nozzle assembly after it starts to fail.

Ink matters, too, if you're printing things that need to last. Cheap ink can fade in less than a year or two; high quality inks can last 100+ years. Obviously, there's no sense in paying extra for 100 year ink for a printed memo (do people still sent those) that's in use for a day, but for many uses, ink really does matter.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176738)

Guess I buy a different class of printer... I have several, some years old, and never had a problem with jets clogging.

Clogged jets are mostly caused by disuse. The longer the printer sits unused, the more the ink dries up - starting at the nozzle. If it dries up too much, it turns into a cork.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

anUnhandledException (1900222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173090)

Similar to the console model the Kinect isn't a money maker. People buying Kinect games is the money maker.

Similarly Sony takes a dim view of using PS3 to make computing clusters, or running Linux. They aren't in the business of selling consoles. consoles are merely the medium to sell large amounts of console games.

Re:Streisand effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34172392)

They don't lose game sales if someone who doesn't play games, and hence would not have bought them anyway, gets a kinect for some other purpose. Rather, they gain a kinect sale they would not have otherwise made were its sue restricted to gamers.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172432)

actually they have a lot to *gain*.

The thing is not as accurate as it could be, and letting folks try to make it work better/fit specific purposes could enable new things MS didn't think of, actually adding value to the kinect.

or they can sit and whine about possibly losing sales.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171534)

Oddly enough a guy I work with is on a very interesting air traffic control research project. He was raving about some experimental immersive environment he had seen using a wiimote for input. I don't see nintendo suing over that.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171596)

Did the experimentors call Nintendo's press office and demand a statement regarding a modification they've previously not heard of and not giving any details about exactly what it is?

Microsoft isn't suing. The company is simply making sure it reserves the right to sue in case this violates its legal rights. They're covering their butts

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

DinDaddy (1168147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177020)

Pretty sure the price of wiimotes is dripping in included profit.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178782)

Microsoft and Nintendo both have that choice.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173698)

What the fuck could MS lose if the Kinect driver is open-sourced?

Possibly money -- the XBox hardware was a loss leader for the first several years. They sold it at a loss to encourage people to buy the games. This might be something in the same boat -- what they sell it for doesn't recoup their costs.

"Tamper-resistant"? The Hell? They placed an explosive charge in it, or why do they have to make it tamper-proof? If someone wants to tamper with it, they probably know enough to disable/circumvent/subvert the safeguards, and if the can't, they probably wouldn't mess around with it in the first place

Ah, but the safeguards will be digital. Which means they can invoke the DMCA to say that you're violating federal law by defeating their safeguards, and they will issue a cease and desist. And, they're saying if they have to, they'll keep up the arms race to make it harder/more illegal to reverse engineer this.

Nowadays, just by saying "this is a digital lock, you are not allowed to open it", you can get an awful lot of legal clout to back you. :(

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174638)

What the fuck could MS lose if the Kinect driver is open-sourced? Hackers will still need to buy the unit itself. "Tamper-resistant"? The Hell? They placed an explosive charge in it, or why do they have to make it tamper-proof? If someone wants to tamper with it, they probably know enough to disable/circumvent/subvert the safeguards, and if the can't, they probably wouldn't mess around with it in the first place

I don't think the comment is Kinect-specific. It's a rather vague, generic statement. The only relation to Kinect is because the Fall Update was timed with the Kinect release.

All Microsoft wants is people to quit trying to hack the Xbox360 to play pirated games. In fact, the only reason Kinect gets involved is apparently the latest update does more checks which is timed with the Kinect release. Those checks fail when playing a pirated game, but succeed when playing an original copy. And this has a side effect of possibly letting Microsoft know your console plays pirated games.

It's usually less about getting Kinect to work in more devices (I'm sure Microsoft would love to have Kinect spread around - good sales means the possibly for a lot more development), and more about people using Kinect to "break into" the Xbox360 to enable pirated game playing. Hell, I'm sure Microsoft's preparing a bunch of console bans already, especially with the CoD: Black Ops release today. (The other way Microsoft checks is by checking to see if you've been playing a game prior to release date - it means either a retailer has violated street date (cha-ching + retailer gets blackballed), or someone's playing a downloaded copy).

Hell, good sales of Kinect may spur development of Kinect 2.0, or hasten the next release. You can bet Microsoft's already got a more advanced Kinect version for R&D and military use (probably costing $1000+), and improve on the general firmware and software. Unlike Move which is based on very mature technology (it's just a Wii, reversed, and 2D movement recognition has been around for years before Wii) and thus has to work well, Kinect is fairly new and unique and I don't think anyone's quite figured it out yet.

Re:Streisand effect? (0, Redundant)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171408)

“Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant”

Would you buy a car that has an inaccessible engine, a dealer padlock on the hood? Do they call it “tampering” when I change my own oil?

It’s sad that more people don’t stand up for their right to use and modify their own machines however they want. It's a shame that the DMCA is used to prevent us from using & modifying the hardware we purchase. Fear of a legal suit is likely the reason the source code will not be made public...

Any attempt to lock down or make “tamper-resistant” your hardware should be met with the same outrage you would exhibit if car dealers were to make your car legally serviceable only by the dealer.

Microsoft car salesman: "No, you may not look under the hood. Touch the engine with a wrench and we'll sue."

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171462)

Please, we're talking about a game system. All of the consoles are much tighter locked down than your description of

a car that has an inaccessible engine, a dealer padlock on the hood? Do they call it “tampering” when I change my own oil?

And here's the sales numbers for PS3 and XBOX360 :

http://www.totalvideogames.com/PlayStation-3/news/PS3-Sales-To-Overtake-Xbox-360-In-2011-14421.html [totalvideogames.com]

Nice try (1)

wernox1987 (1362105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172210)

But that report is from July 2009 and only has sales figures through March 2009. I've played with this gadget, its taken the Xbox away from me and given it to my wife and kids.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171622)

This isn't a car. It's consumer electronics. How many pieces of consumer electronics allow easy access to the insides? Even the electronics in cars tends not to. Cars need to allow access because they require maintenance. A camera doesn't.

Re:Streisand effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171922)

Back in the good old days. Radios and TVs came with schematics, in some cases even attached to the inside of the case.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172026)

Back in the good old days, radios and TVs came with parts that failed after extended use.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Informative)

_133MHz (1556101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172156)

Back in the good old days, radios and TVs came with parts that failed after extended use.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. (thin electron gun Trinitron CRTs, capacitor plague, lead-free solder etc)

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172160)

Never had a bricked Xbox360 or PS3?

Parts still fail nowadays, they just take longer to do so. Usually. That AC's comment is still perfectly justified in modern times.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172254)

So? Assuming you could access them, how would a person of reasonable technical ability repair one? A valve radio is easy. You take out the faulty valve and replace it.

To repair the xbox 360, you'll need to resolder a chip. Very likely to be surface mounted, possibly BGA. I'm sure there are people who can fix these, but they're really designed to be soldered by machine.

Re:Streisand effect? (0)

heathen_01 (1191043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172666)

The issue is this:

"No, you may not look under the hood. Touch the engine with a wrench and we'll sue."

This is irrelevant:

how would a person of reasonable technical ability repair one?

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172722)

Ah. Fair enough. Although as I mentiond in another comment, MS isn't actually threatening to sue anyone, just reserving the right to do so.

Re:Streisand effect? (2, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174054)

Actually it seems it can be done without having that much special hardware.

I've seen reports of people fixing BGA chips by simply remelting the solder. Apparently this is not a very good solution, but it seems to actually work for at least some people. I've seen solutions as low tech as placing a container of burning fuel on top of the chip.

Going as far as reballing the CPU by hand seems to be doable as well, though tedious and difficult. The process seems to be:

1. Apply heat to met the solder and remove the chip, protecting the components around with something as simple as aluminium foil
2. Clean the CPU and board of solder completely, by first melting and sliding off solder with an iron, then absorbing with copper braid, then applying a liquid cleaner.
3. Reball the CPU by using a kit composed of solder balls and a grid. Heat it enough for the balls to attach to the CPU
4. Carefully position CPU on the board, and apply even heat to solder.

I remember seeing a video of that somewhere. It looks like it takes practice and a lot of care and precision, but it seems very doable without using industrial robots or anything of the sort. All the tools and materials seem affordable.

Re:Streisand effect? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174864)

Yes. It can be done. I think though the main difference between fixable and non fixable equipment though is design for failure. Electronic equipment can last for decades without going wrong. The XBox 360's high rate of failures weren't caused by wear and tear, but by a manufacturing fault.

I expect my car to need a oil change every so often, for the clutch to wear, for the brakes to need replacing and so on. I expect a valve to go once in a while. I also expect lightbulbs to be designed for easy replacement, an opto-mechanical mouse to get grime on its rollers. These are parts that expire or get worn, dirty or used up through normal use. If a part is prone to failure then I want to be able to replace it.

Chips should not go wrong. The high rate of failures is down to poor manufacturing. Given a choice between increasing access so I can fix it or process improvements so I don't have to, I'll go for the process improvements.

And I think I should add, since I'm digressing fromthe original argument, having read all the points, I do agree with the overall point that taking things apart and modifying them is discouraged far too strongly.

But will he opensource the driver ? (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171326)

There is an article on engadget that says the guy doesn't necessarily want to publish his driver :
http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/07/kinect-does-hackers-bidding-but-not-for-fortune-or-fame-video/ [engadget.com]
Maybe that's why the bounty was raised.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171384)

If the ps3 driver (which I use) is an indication I dare to say no... He also sells sdks with regards of the ps eye.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (4, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172678)

This gets clearer :
http://codelaboratories.com/projects/kinect/ [codelaboratories.com]

He want $10,000 to open source it. He probably just need to raise $7000 + the $3000 of adafruit. I don't know what to think about it. On one hand, this is not such a big price to ask, but on the other, the fact that it was done in 3 days seems to indicate that the work was not that big...
I guess I will donate $50 in 15 days if nothing comes from the OSS community before.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175658)

This was my position as well. The speed in which this was done seems to indicate that it wasn't all that complicated. Time will tell; I will definitely donate to the fund if no one steps up beyond this.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34175950)

I guess I will donate $50 in 15 days if nothing comes from the OSS community before.

For crying out loud could you not think of a more worthier cause for your cash other than speeding up the release of a game controller driver? Might I suggest http://www.foodforthepoor.org/ [foodforthepoor.org] or a similarly worthy organization?

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176298)

Thing is, if Kinect drivers were open source, you could see a lot of applications that aren't games. Use your imagination.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34192248)

That kind of depends on how much processing of the image really happens on the Kinect, i.e. if you get a full skeleton out of it or just the depth map. If its the former, sure, but if its the later you are still pretty much at square one and have to write all the gesture detection software from scratch.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176906)

1) I am a bit selfish and plan on using the kinect for business, (and not in the game business)
2) I don't live in the US so I am not interested in a US-centric charity
3) I already give to a local one (Les Restos du Coeur)
4) There is no way that I will give one cent to a christian group. I shiver at the idea that they provide education without control to poor children.

There is always a more worthy cause. But if you want a pseudo-moralization of this cause, let's try this : this technology potentially lowers dramatically the cost of a sensor that is highly useful in robotics, which in turn could bring the society of abundance faster, which will solve poverty. Or I could give 10 days of food and wine to a hobo that thinks he is in the street because Americans elected a fascist/communist/muslim president.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177564)

For crying out loud, could you not think of a more worthier cause for your time other than posting on Slashdot? Might I suggest volunteering for any worthy charity instead?

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176038)

I guess I will donate $50 in 15 days if nothing comes from the OSS community before.

I'm not going to tell you what to do with your money, but I'd personally rather wait for someone not interested in the financial reward develop and release the drivers. If he had a prototype ready in just three days, he's either the world's most brilliant reverse engineer or the device isn't as complicated as Microsoft has portrayed.

If I had the time and skill, I'd do it myself and give the $3000 to the EFF and FSF.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34176982)

Well that is what I will do if this happens soon, but I believe that $10,000 for this piece of code is an honest price.

Sure, I would prefer to give it to the adafruit fund, but they are not opened for donations.

Also the guy already made a driver for the PS3 eye, he has the skills and the tools to reverse engineers this kind of tools. But I am confident someone else will soon give an implementation.

It is good if someone is not financially interested, but I don't see any problem in making a donation anyway.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178438)

The PS Eye is just a webcam (OV534). The Kinect is a lot more interesting. It might actually be easier to interface, if it has more on-board processing and thus relies less on driver functionality (e.g. auto exposure).

Personally, if I can borrow a 360 and either borrow a USB analyzer or use some stuff I have as a crappy USB analyzer, and if I can get a Kinect tomorrow when it launches in the EU, I'll give it a shot.

Re:But will he opensource the driver ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34241006)

Codelaboratories has some virus and trojan issues. Might need to recheck the website before recommending it. Norton went berserk when I went there.

Reverse engineering a driver ? (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171508)

I have a more generic question: I have written a few old style drivers for DOS, some USB drivers for Windows using LibUsb and I'm working on some more complex Linux driver. But that was on devices that we designed and whose specs I knew. Now I have a monitor calibration device I'd like to get working on Linux. I don't expect the driver to be very complicated (it's just a color sensor), but I have no idea how to get started without specs. Is it possible to intercept the USB communications while the device runs in VirtualBox for instance ?

Re:Reverse engineering a driver ? (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171584)

There is software that can intercept (called filter in windows) usb communication.

google for "usb port monitor"

Re:Reverse engineering a driver ? (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34183754)

I've also had great success with a free/OSS program called SnoopyPro.

Re:Reverse engineering a driver ? (1)

lindi (634828) | more than 3 years ago | (#34192012)

http://iki.fi/lindi/usb/usbsnoop.txt has my step-by-step instructions for getting started with usb reverse engineering. It uses a perl script that reads a traffic dump and generates a C program that reproduces the traffic by calling libusb appropriately.

Re:Reverse engineering a driver ? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34192206)

To intercept USB commands you need a USB protocol analyzer, they cost something between a few hundred and a few thousands dollars. If the device you want to reverse engineer has already a Windows driver you can use a software like USBlyzer [usblyzer.com] to simply monitor to communication (its a 30day free trial, but I found it much more stable and comfortable then comparable Free Software).

Random plug: There is also a bounty of now closet to $600 for a Windows driver for the Xbox360 Chatpad [mp3car.com] , any volunteers?

just my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34171796)

Not only is it legal but they should provide the source code and schematics to help!

MS can make Adafruit go broke very easily (1, Funny)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34171892)

All they have to do, is keep sending these messages, pushing the bounty up higher and higher until it bankrupts Adafruit. (And maybe then release their own driver and cash in on the bounty, or are they excluded from the contest?)

Re:MS can make Adafruit go broke very easily (2, Insightful)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172760)

Adafruit stipulated that the driver source must be released as open source. I see that happening next Tuesday, when hell freezes over.

hey, Adafruit! (0, Flamebait)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34172922)

Stop being an attention whoring second rate electronics kit seller for third rate geeks and build your own damn hardware. You have a moderately bright staff and you're wasting resources on tacky PR.

Stallman's had it right from the start: unless you must, don't tie yourself into something someone else has built and doesn't want to share. This applies as much for hardware, protocols and interfaces as for code proper.

Re:hey, Adafruit! (1)

basbrun (1794834) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173110)

They do build and sell their hardware. Calling the Arduino and electrinic community "third rate geeks" is not a verry well informed statement. Take a few minute to go through the Lady Ada and Adafruit websites before posting uninformed empty comments.

Re:hey, Adafruit! (0, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173682)

I'm sorry, I must have missed the part in my post where I said that the electronics community were a bunch of third-rate geeks or even criticised the Arduino. I criticised an electronics starter kit builder for refusing to take on (or sponsor) the more difficult challenge of building something similar to Kinect and instead offering an attention-whoring bounty to someone who can write a driver for someone else's. IOW, they can build their own damn hardware.

If you're going to call yourself "Lady Ada" you'd better be able to justify it. Despite my mathematical training I don't go around calling myself Karl Friedrich Gauss partly because I'm not him and partly because I don't deserve it.

Re:hey, Adafruit! (1)

basbrun (1794834) | more than 3 years ago | (#34177216)

I criticised an electronics starter kit builder for refusing to take on (or sponsor) the more difficult challenge of building something similar to Kinect ...

MS already did. It's there ... it's cheap ... lets play with it.

If you're going to call yourself "Lady Ada" you'd better be able to justify it.

Dude, that's only a domain name ... :)

Re:hey, Adafruit! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173786)

Stop being an attention whoring second rate electronics kit seller for third rate geeks and build your own damn hardware.

Except Microsoft has already built this shiny new hardware, and scaled up their production so that it will be widely available at consumer prices.

Why on Earth would they start from scratch to build their own? I can see why they'd want to have a bounty to be able to operate this sucker.

Re:hey, Adafruit! (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174724)

Stop being an attention whoring second rate electronics kit seller for third rate geeks and build your own damn hardware.

I don't know if you got ripped off by AdaFruit some time in the past or what, but this statement is pretty unfair. AdaFruit has some good prices on various electronic bits that can be a pain in the ass to find elsewhere. What's more, they've made a name for themselves as a trustworthy vendor, so when folks buy bits and pieces from AdaFruit, they know they will get quick, quality hardware, unlike some other online vendors that seem to have trouble tracking their orders and getting sales to their customers doors in a respectable timeframe.

As for the jab about third rate geeks, well that's just some foul elitism on your part. AdaFruit and LadyAda.net offer some straightforward, accessible, free electronics tutorials complete with source code and pictures. For folks who just want to dabble and hobby around in electronics, this is a great resource that doesn't require the rigorous study of electrical engineering in order to learn how to make a cool, flashy LED toy that they can show off to their friends. Furthermore, said guides are simple enough that they can be used in young classrooms (as in elementary to middle school) and can provide up and coming geeks inspiration for continuing in the technical fields. This is a priceless quality in some societies where academic and scientific competency are mocked and scorned.

So all in all, I have to say that AdaFruit, their customers, and their business partners are all entities that I support quite strongly. They offer valuable services and products to those that need them. If such products and services are, "below," an uber-geek like yourself (I have to assume you are one, to write such scornful and condescending words), well then don't use them. However, scorning any tech company for helping to lower the bar of entry into the engineering and technical fields is just putrid elitism at its worst. It only gets lonely at the top is when you intentionally block others from the path to the summit.

So keep your condescending misinformed crap to yourself. Some of us truly value the idea of living in a world where peers with common technical interests are not few and far between.

Re:hey, Adafruit! (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175942)

This message brought to you by the PR department of AdaFruit! It's awesome!

Re:hey, Adafruit! (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34178678)

Stop being an attention whoring second rate electronics kit seller for third rate geeks and build your own damn hardware. You have a moderately bright staff and you're wasting resources on tacky PR.

Why?

To me you seem to be espousing a very ridiculous notion: that there's something wrong with buying somebody's hardware and doing something with it. And Adafruit is offering to pay somebody for the documentation.

So, if their evil plan succeeds, horror of horrors, people might buy a Kinect to do something with it.

Why are they doing that? (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 3 years ago | (#34173214)

I mean really, there is a video showing a Microsoft product interacting with a Microsoft OS. So basicly we have an open-source-endorsing company paying for something that will only benefit Microsoft. Why can't they give the money to someone who makes a good game (or something else) for Linux?

Re:Why are they doing that? (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34174284)

I doubt there's anything in the driver that depends on Windows. The fact that this guy managed to do this in less than a week indicates that microsoft haven't done anything to make Kinect hard to use. I expect the video streams are exposed as UVC devices.

Anyway, I want one.

10K Bounty for Kinect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34174904)

hah now the bounty is 10k which is about right for a good driver

http://nuigc.com/johny5

Microsoft's statement that triggered $3000 bounty (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175498)

Kinect for Xbox 360 has not been hacked - in any way - as the software and hardware that are part of Kinect for Xbox 360 have not been modified. What has happened is someone has created drivers that allow other devices to interface with the Kinect for Xbox 360. The creation of these drivers, and the use of Kinect for Xbox 360 with other devices, is unsupported. We strongly encourage customers to use Kinect for Xbox 360 with their Xbox 360 to get the best experience possible.

Hey, Microsoft, this is all this "hack" will likely ever be: figuring out the protocol and encryption so that the device can be used with any computer. Hardware modification would make it much less usable to people, so it's unlikely.

But this is very interesting, as the above statement from Microsoft could probably used as a defense when Microsoft inevitably sues people once an open-source driver is released. "But your honor, Microsoft itself stated that this is not a hack, in any way!"

I get the feeling that Microsoft's real target is not those writing a driver, but investors and developers for whom an open-source driver is a threat. Apparently this device is being sold near cost, or even lower, in order to help establish it in homes so that game developers will use it. If its protocol were unlocked, then Microsoft might have to raise its price, which would lower sales and thus reduce the number that go into homes.

where's the code- oh, they want $10k first (2, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34175614)

it does look promising but it has me wondering if it's real since they have what Adafruit required in functionality but want an extra $7k($3k+$7k=$10k) to release the code and documentation. The original designer of the Kinect device technology( PrimeSense ) provides an SDK and DDK to work with it's reference design. What's to say what we're seeing in this video is not the PrimeSense SDK and driver and not a hack of the Microsoft Kinect USB data streams?

It could be real but it has my antenna up wondering how real it is. If PrimeSense didn't create the design and Microsoft did, then I'd be less prone to question this but we all know that the Kinect is a PrimeSense product with Microsoft's tweaking. It would be great if Microsoft did not encrypt or munge the USB data and it is to the original PrimeSense ref spec since PrimeSense is probably more inclined to want to sell chips and license the design as opposed to wanting to limit sales and tie sales to only one other device.

So show us that the supposed demo of Kinect's output is really from custom made software and not something either pulled from Microsoft or PrimeSense. Show us you're not just using their code to get $10K to do the real work of creating something which can be open sourced.

LoB

What about the Kinects with special adapters? (1)

FreekyGeek (19819) | more than 3 years ago | (#34185498)

From what I can tell it seems that there are two versions of the Kinect. One version is designed for people who already own an Xbox 360 and are buying the Kinect to add to it. That version requires a separate power supply and (presumably) has a standard USB port. The other version comes with the new 360 Slim/Kinect bundle. That version does not require a separate power supply - it gets its power from some kind of special port on the back of the new Xbox that kinda-sorta looks roughly like a USB port but is clearly different.

I wonder if the driver will be the same for both? At first, no doubt the drivers will be designed for the sold-separately Kinect, but as time goes on and more bundles are sold, more people will have the version with the special connector.

I wonder if that was a kindness by Microsoft (so we don't need yet another Wall Wart), or a cost-saving measure (don't have to sjip power supplies), or a proprietary thing (using a special connector that no one else has in order to prevent this kind of reverse engineering). Probably some of all three.

Re:What about the Kinects with special adapters? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34192238)

Somebody may correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know the special Kinect port on the new Xbox360s is just a USB port that outputs more power then regular. To if you get a powersupply-less Kinect you might need to solder something together to give Kinect enough power, but it shouldn't make any difference in terms of protocols used.

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