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Google Engineer Sponsors New Kinect Bounties

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the dead-or-alive dept.

Google 96

ashidosan writes "Hot on the heels of the Adafruit competition, Matt Cutts (a search spam engineer at Google) is sponsoring two more $1,000 bounties for projects using Kinect. 'The first $1,000 prize goes to the person or team that writes the coolest open-source app, demo, or program using the Kinect. The second prize goes to the person or team that does the most to make it easy to write programs that use the Kinect on Linux.'" Relatedly, reader imamac points out a video showing Kinect operating on OS X.

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96 comments

That's good (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205416)

When the driver was hacked I thought it was cool, but it would probably be a long time before someone actually used it for something nice. This might attract a few people.

Re:That's good (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205438)

There's some decent potential for it being used in video teleconferencing and other such business applications...I'd imagine that, given the low accuracy of the technology at the moment, business use is going to be the extent of it.

I've been known to be entirely wrong before, however, so take that as you will...

Re:That's good (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205664)

not really. I can think of a few uses.

The open source Gametable http://rptools.net/ [rptools.net] rptools could use this to translate tabletop real minnatures to virtual for distance gaming or as a UI to move your object and it moves the token on screen for a top down projection.
etc.....

IF I actually spent time on it, I could come up with a lot of them. Gesture door lock, alarm sensor that can reliably distinguish between a human and an animal, etc....

Re:That's good (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205678)

As a pure webcam, to be used alongside existing machine vision software, it is a significant letdown(640x480 for $150? I feel like its 1995 all over again!). The more-or-less realtime rangefinding, though, is head and shoulders above all but the most sophisticated work in hobbyist robots and things.

The only real downer is the 12 watt power draw and need for a USB 2.0 master. The USB 2.0 master requirement is way less limiting than it used to be(the shivaplug board on my desk qualifies, as well as being more than fast enough to serve as a robot brain, and is still less than a quarter the size of the FIRST controller we used back in high school robotics...); but 12 watts is 12 watts. Static applications and larger robots only need apply.

Re:That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206156)

I'd say business is the least likely use of this, and the only real use I can think of is some homebrew games. Businesses are not about to buy XBOX branded peripherals or use hacked drivers for teleconference. The resolution isn't good enough anyway, you could buy a cheap webcam with better resolution for less money. And the motion tracking offers no real benefit for businesses.

Re:That's good (4, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205440)

I've got a couple of (really simple) ideas for how to use it.

Actually, only one is really simple. I think my 1.5 year old son would love to see a big rabbit on TV that would simply replicate his every move. Not much of a game, but a cool tech demo, as well as something for my son to enjoy.

The other (much more ambitious) idea, is to mix it with an HTML 5 demo I already was considering. I'd need some way to turn Kinect events into mouse events, I guess. Something that a browser can handle, in any case, so I think that means mouse events. Something multitouchy would be nice, but I don't think browsers support that, do they?

Re:That's good (4, Informative)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205500)

The other (much more ambitious) idea, is to mix it with an HTML 5 demo I already was considering. I'd need some way to turn Kinect events into mouse events, I guess. Something that a browser can handle, in any case, so I think that means mouse events. Something multitouchy would be nice, but I don't think browsers support that, do they?

Step one is complete: http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/11/hacked-kinect-taught-to-work-as-multitouch-interface/ [engadget.com] . Now they just need to create an html5 demo.

Re:That's good (2, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205556)

Ah cool! What I was mostly worried about is how to pass those multitouch evens to the browser, though. Apart from some built-in zoom and scroll features, I didn't think browsers had any sort of general multitouch support.

But apparently, Firefox 4 has it [wordpress.com] . And apparently Safari and Chrome should be able to do it too, but I can't find anything about it yet.

Re:That's good (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205674)

It's a nice proof of concept and step in the right direction, but I wouldn't call it complete. He is simply tracking the two closest blobs, which happen to be his hands. Give the community some more time before we start making announcements about a minority report type interface being complete :P.

Re:That's good (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205892)

Minority Report required special gloves. In a way, Kinect multi-touch is already more advanced than that. And I wouldn't mind if someone used his leg or head to do multi-touch manipulations. But perhaps special gloves might help to track only the hands and ignore the rest.

In any case, I prefer a gloveless interface.

Re:That's good (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208354)

I thought we'd already pretty much ruled out Minority Report style interfaces for the same reason we don't have a lot of vertical touchscreen interface usage (outside of a few specialist areas): gorilla arm syndrome [wikipedia.org] . It would be really cool to use this for about two minutes, and after that you'd want to throw it through the window (although I guess if you came up with a really reliable way to track the hands without them necessarily being held up towards the device you could neatly solve that, the arms could point downwards and still be used for navigation purposes).

Re:That's good (2, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205522)

And actually very useful. Think CG television series - not movies, where you can afford the time to have artists position every joint, but a series where you have a week at most to complete an episode. This could speed things up considerably and at much lower cost than a full mocap setup. Presenters of children's shows could be easily replaced with CG character overlays.

Re:That's good (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34213770)

Already working on this with an array of Kinects at a mocap studio in Chicago.

/friend works at the mocqp studio
//thought it up a couple of days ago
///amazon preordes for the win

Re:That's good (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205546)

s/rabbit/raven/

Much better.

Re:That's good (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205592)

s/rabbit/tiger/

:W Kinectimals [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's good (1)

Jaxim (858185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205850)

Agreed. My 2 year old somewhat gets the kinect but she would enjoy it even more if there were a mode where the avatar (i.e. your rabbit avatar) mirrored her every move.

Re:That's good (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205898)

Exactly! It's perfect for that age. I'm sure my son would find it absolutely hilarious. I hope he's not too old for it by the time it's finished.

In other news, my boss is also somewhat interested in doing cool stuff with the Kinect.

Re:That's good (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206028)

Poser + Blender + Blender Game Engine + Kinect = Lots of fun =oD

Re:animal replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206048)

You mean like this? Kinectimals [amazon.com]

Re:That's good (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34207048)

Actually, only one is really simple. I think my 1.5 year old son would love to see a big rabbit on TV that would simply replicate his every move. Not much of a game, but a cool tech demo, as well as something for my son to enjoy.

That's not remotely simple. All the pose-tracking stuff is done in the xbox. It's complicated computer vision stuff, and it will be *extremely* hard to get it to work as well as Microsoft has.

The other (much more ambitious) idea, is to mix it with an HTML 5 demo I already was considering. I'd need some way to turn Kinect events into mouse events, I guess. Something that a browser can handle, in any case, so I think that means mouse events. Something multitouchy would be nice, but I don't think browsers support that, do they?

That would be much much easier. I guess Google TV's browser might support multitouch, since it is just Android.

3D Stereography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34227868)

It would probably be fairly simple to write a 3D webcam App for it (for Anaglyph or shutter glasses)
I'm not even a programmer and I can think of several ways to script it together.

In other news... when I saw this little demo I dropped a brick in my pants.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QrnwoO1-8A

Re:That's good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34205442)

Are you kidding me? We can't wait to get our hands on it!

Watch! (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205456)

I bet Microsoft will be all over the courts trying to stop this thing, and you know what?!.. I bet this news will sell thousands more units, knowing we can screw around with it in our own way.. they just don't get it.

Re:Watch! (2, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205474)

I think Microsoft already announced that they're okay with it. Just don't expect any support from them.

Re:Watch! (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205750)

I suspect that MS knows that they don't have a leg to stand on against the present activity(all the copyrighted code/DRM protected stuff/patented wizbangs are in the firmware, and writing a driver that just receives the data the firmware generates is the sort of thing that even the DMCA explicitly protects). I assume that their frankly nasty bluster so far has been about two things 1. management of the fears of Joe User: Joe hears "hackers hack Kinect", Joe assumes that his Kinect is now watching his children on behalf of Romanian cybercriminals. MS doesn't want that, so they talk big about how secure and law-enforcement-cooperating they are. 2. Overton window shifting: If you want a specific, and novel, legal result, you generally have to prepare the groundwork for it by modifying the discourse. You do this by the crude; but often successful, expedient of repeating your currently-false-but-desired-to-be-true worldview in public, a lot. If "unapproved use = tampering = evil" has been repeated a few thousand times by the time that DMCA 2: Son of DMCA comes before congress, it will be much more likely to make it in.

Now, if somebody does something directly competitive with PrimeSense, on a commercial scale, you may well see the claims start flying that any working Kinect driver must be implementing 127 patented algorithms and is otherwise all kinds of illegal; but that probably isn't worth the cost of process servers for the current scruffy band of international hackers...

Re:Watch! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206264)

I've heard speculation - and it's just speculation, as the contract is secret - that part of the condition for Microsoft's licencing the patents was that the Kinect must only be useable for gaming and nothing else in order to avoid cutting into the sales of far more expensive professional mocap and range-finding equipment. If the Kinect can be used as a 'two-thirds the quality, one-tenth the price' replacement for professional gear, smaller studios might decide it's good enough and forgo the expense of professional mocap.

Re:Watch! (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206732)

I wonder if its because of MS's bad loss-leader habits. The Xbox was more expensive to manufacture initially than its retail price, and they expected to make money in the long term or by games. If the Xbox could be used for more than gaming, making buying the standalone system commonplace, it becomes a financial disaster.

If, when designing the Kinect, they couldn't make the system price competitive for the specs they wanted, they may have taken this route. Of course, if this is the case, Kinect sales that aren't pushing game sales will be a perpetual red mark until they cut hardware cost or quality.

Re:Watch! (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206744)

err, disregard...someone debunked it below

Re:Watch! (4, Interesting)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205840)

I bet Microsoft will be all over the courts trying to stop this thing, and you know what?!.. I bet this news will sell thousands more units, knowing we can screw around with it in our own way.. they just don't get it.

Why?

The parts have been shown to cost about $50. Add a few dollars per unit manufacturing, packaging, transport.. And you have a nice little profit. So despite the whiner chorous insisting it is selling at a loss.. It isn't.

Each one sold, is more money for Microsoft.
Each one sold puts an MS logo in front of the buyer.
Each one sold increases the chances of games being written including the kinect for the xBox. And more enthusiastic reception if and when they release a Windows SDK for it.

So..Other than some vague paranoid "because it's Microsoft" excuse.. Why the flying fuck would they stand in the way of this thing selling?

Re:Watch! (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206238)

And a lot of that profit goes to the over $200 million they spent to license and develop the technology. The plans didn't appear out of thin air.

Re:Watch! (2, Insightful)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34207862)

And a lot of that profit goes to the over $200 million they spent to license and develop the technology. The plans didn't appear out of thin air.

So selling the bloody things might possibly be a good idea yes?

Re:Watch! (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208480)

The development costs only matter if they're making a loss on each one they sell, because it will efectively mean each unit sold for non-gaming purposes takes money out of their pocket and denies them sales. If they're making a profit, as GP suggests, then each unit sold for non-gaming purposes might take games sales out of their pocket but it still makes them a profit, which goes towards paying off those development costs. So long as they don't have any kind of major supply issues, it's always going to be better to sell more units in those circumstances (unless they had plans to do stuff with this on the PC and are afraid it will cannibalise a major future revenue stream).

Re:Watch! (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209416)

And a lot of that profit goes to the over $200 million they spent to license and develop the technology. The plans didn't appear out of thin air.

Except they didnt develop "the technology" (structured light), they developed 40something points skeletal tracking algorithm that makes games like Adventures LAG 0.5 second on XBOX. They demoed this tracking even before talks with Primesense.
They did buy our 3DV Systems that used Tof (tof camera had 0.5 second delay to begin from watching 3DV demos). They were hoping it would work, but it didnt so they ended up using third party Primesense.

Re:Watch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206272)

So..Other than some vague paranoid "because it's Microsoft" excuse.. Why the flying fuck would they stand in the way of this thing selling?

1) Every unit sold to a hacker for non-Xbox use is a unit that isn't available to be sold to a regular Xbox owner. Xbox owners who buy a Kinect will buy Kinect Xbox games. Hackers using this for homebrew won't. If demand exceeds supply (which may happen if this becomes THE toy to buy this Christmas), every hacker-owned Kinect will represent a lost opportunity.

2) If the Kinect is the amazing game-changer that the hype seems to indicate, then they're counting on the Kinect to move Xboxes. If people start using the Kinect to play non-MS games on their PC, that's more lost opportunity.

If MS was a random third-party vendor, then sure, they'd be thrilled to see the Kinect on as many platforms as possible. But MS has an obvious financial interest in selling as many Xboxes and Xbox games as possible, and keeping the Kinect off of the PC would serve that interest.

Re:Watch! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206654)

So..Other than some vague paranoid "because it's Microsoft" excuse.. Why the flying fuck would they stand in the way of this thing selling?

Software exclusivity. If there were no open source driver, consumers have to buy Xbox software which MS takes in a percentage in licensing for every title sold. Normally to get exclusivity, MS or Sony or Nintendo makes deals with game studio to get exclusive rights. Or in the case of Halo, MS owns the studio. Do you think the Xbox would have been sold as many units as it did when it launched if consumers could have gotten Halo on PC, PS2, OS X, etc? If the Kinect is tied to Xbox, then the exclusivity is built-in. For example, Dance Central by Harmonix can now be ported to any platform that can use Kinect and not just Xbox.

MS may not have kept the exclusivity forever, but they have a vested interest in getting as much licensing revenue as they can. With the current hardware profit around $100 as you believe, MS probably thinks they can get more the $100 in licensing revenue over the lifetime of the product. They might have released Windows drivers later but MS wanted to control how it would be used.

Also note I said "software" exclusivity. I believe the Kinect module can be used for far more than just games. Xbox can be used for things other than games but with open source drivers, personal computers can use it for far more purposes. MS is a business like others. If there was a way to make money by using Kinect on PCs, they'd want to control it and make that money.

Re:Watch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206808)

What about advertising, R&D, etc.? Those are sizable expenses. By not even including those you have shown you really have no idea what you are talking about.

Re:Watch! (3, Informative)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#34207180)

The parts have been shown to cost about $50

Utter bullshit. That's just the BOM for the 'major' chips. It doesn't include PCBs, small components like capacitors and voltage regulators, the housing, lenses, cables, connectors, tilt servo. Nor does it include the cost of assembly, transport and packaging.

I suppose you think nice restaurants are a rip-off because the price of eggs and flour is so low.

Re:Watch! (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208560)

Unless you're eating pancakes at this nice restaurant, eggs and four are probably not the "major" components of your meal. If you order a steak, what do you think accounts for most of the cost of your meal, the steak or the fries? Unless you're suggesting that the miscellaneous costs are double the major costs for this device, I think it's not unreasonable for GP to suggest they're probably making a profit, even if it's not nearly as much as the figures might suggest.

Re:Watch! (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#34214012)

Someone said this more concisely above, but the GP's point is perhaps obscured by his use of the word 'profit'... he's not saying that the division is making money, but that the major hardware components leave enough room that the margin on these units is likely to defray the other costs. In other words, selling more is better because it increases the chance that they will recoup development.

Re:Watch! (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34221676)

Yeah, but nice restaurants' product is not the amalgamation of ingredients it's the knowledge and skill of the cook.
The PCB and other components are dirt cheap. Even when manufacturing high quality goods. Other mechanical parts, assembly and packaging is so cheap these days, that you would weep if you knew the real numbers for high quantities.

Re:Watch! (2, Interesting)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34211254)

You could use the exact same arguments to ask "why the flying fuck didn't Microsoft release it for Windows 7 too". If it's such an amazing piece of hardware for it's price (I'm told it's a perfectly capable motion capture device, and you've just said that it's dirt cheap for them to manufacture), it's tricky to see why they'd limit themselves to simulated tennis and virtual pets.

If they're making such a killing on selling these units, as you suggest, and if they're such handy devices- why haven't they been plugging it as their own, almost unique, well branded entrant into the general hardware market?

I'm not saying your point is wrong- far from it. I just genuinely can't see the logic here.

But then, this is Ballmer's Microsoft we're talking about. Trying to spot strategy there is like trying to knit with egg noodles.

Re:Watch! (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34215130)

You could use the exact same arguments to ask "why the flying fuck didn't Microsoft release it for Windows 7 too". If it's such an amazing piece of hardware for it's price (I'm told it's a perfectly capable motion capture device, and you've just said that it's dirt cheap for them to manufacture), it's tricky to see why they'd limit themselves to simulated tennis and virtual pets.

I have heard a few rumors they will. If not as an original policy decision, then as a reaction to all the hype. If it sustains.

One good reason why they haven't even announced a PC version would be that it isn't really a good thing to attach to a PC yet. Look at the videos that have been released so far. It can separate a hand from the background when it is held significantly close to the cameras. And it's really designed to separate a human silhouette from it's background. Fairly coarse control. Which is good enough for a console game control system. Not good enough to replace a mouse. Console games are played from a further distance than PC games.

Personally.. I'd be willing to bet they are working on MK II The closeup version, with higher resolution, and the ability to use it for much finer control. Then the PC version would come out.

As far as making a killing.. Obviously not. Remember, the $150 is retail. So retail price - retailer markup - manufacturing, packaging, shipping = profit. So $100 profit per unit.. no way in hell. Optimistically.. $10-20 profit.. Possibly less. Which in hardware, is not a bad profit.

I'm not saying your point is wrong- far from it. I just genuinely can't see the logic here.

New hardware is risky. And selling this as a really worthwhile mass appeal device will be hard. The stories being discussed are about how appealing it is to hackers who are doing stuff like making virtual whiteboards, auto aiming paintball turrets etc. Not budget motion capture rigs and desktop UI devices.. Don't get me wrong.. It is an interesting device. Just not a mainstream interesting device as it currently stands, outside console stuff.

But then, this is Ballmer's Microsoft we're talking about. Trying to spot strategy there is like trying to knit with egg noodles.

Very true. But remember. He is the figurehead of the business side. CEOs schmooze. They are the place where the buck is supposed to stop. They don't really need to understand the finer detail.

I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (3, Interesting)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205476)

seems everyone wants a piece of that kinect thing they created.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (5, Informative)

Christopher Fritz (1550669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205558)

Not that I'm agreeing with the premise that Microsoft never has any innovations of their own, but in the case of Kinect, PrimeSense [primesense.com] developed the hardware. I don't know if Microsoft further developed it, or provided requirements for PrimeSense to develop it into something to use for the XBox, but it didn't begin with Microsoft.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205560)

That's OK, they actually bought the technology like everything else cool they ever sold.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206490)

Like Apple bought FingerWorks(for multi-touch on iPhone and iPad) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FingerWorks [wikipedia.org] . They also bought iTunes and a bunch of other innovative companies and continue to do it. Google bought Android and a ton of other companies. So, according to you, Apple and Google are not innovative, right?

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206886)

In the case of Kinect, I would agree that it is innovative. Most of the technology around Xbox has been. The rest of MS unfortunately hasn't been as much.

There is much to compare between MS and Apple when it comes to acquisitions. Both discontinue products of that company but brings it in the fold. Both of them have differed on how acquisitions have been used. Apple generally buys a company for talent or patents. In the case of Fingerworks, they made keyboards and mice but no longer. Apple used their technology for multi-touch not only in iPhone/iPad but also their trackpads.

MS however has made many acquisitions but have been hit or miss. Some pay dividends like Bungie. Some don't go very far. Part of it has been due to MS paranoia about competition. They would buy out any company if they could that they felt competed with Windows. That led to some poor acquisitions. Part of it was due to dot com boom of the late 90s where many companies made terrible decisions when acquiring tech companies. Also a main difference is where each company was during the boom. MS was on top of the world, flush with cash. Apple was in danger. MS could spend wildly whereas Apple could not. Apple had to be careful about purchases making sure each acquisition was vital to the company.

Both companies however seem to follow their same philosophies when it comes to acquisitions recently. For example Danger was bought in 2008 by MS so that they could get a head start making their own mobile phone, code named Project Pink. Rumors say infighting, bad management, and bad decisions would doom the Kin. In 2008, Apple acquired P.A. Semi (and later Intrinsity) which they used to help design their A4 chip.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34207706)

So, according to you, Apple and Google are not innovative, right?

I'd say rather that they are less innovative than people believe them to be. I'm pretty Anti-Apple so you won't see me defend them much, except in the rare applicable cases. And you will see that happen. Go forth and google my posting history if you don't believe me and care enough to hassle me in this way.

I would say that Google's first strength isn't in innovation; we've seen pretty much everything they've done before, but it was inferior. Thus Google is first and foremost about competence. There was free webmail before google, but none of it held a candle to gmail. There was web search before Google, in fact, but we all know how that turned out. There are other online RSS readers, but which of them are most popular? Is there an online Office suite superior to Google Docs? Et cetera, et cetera.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206642)

That's OK, they actually bought the technology like everything else cool they ever sold.

They bought the depth camera and added quite a lot to it on skeleton detection (and original devs continued to develop it while now working for MS). But disregarding that, you are aware to what degree that can also be said for many of Google's and Apple's "innovations" ?

iTunes = bought SoundJam MP.
Apple multitouch = bought FingerWorks
Apple OSX = bought NeXT
Google Maps = bought Where 2 Technologies.
actually, the Google list of acqisitions and products we see them as is as long as this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acquisitions_by_Google

And if the reply is to add that "but they've done someting more with it", that's my point, I don't see how you can argue how that is different from Kinect.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209444)

That's OK, they actually bought the technology like everything else cool they ever sold.

The thing is they didnt. Its merely a partner agreement between Primesense and Microsoft. Microsoft doesnt own a single bit of hardware technology that goes into Kinect.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34213666)

And they hired people to write the software that does the skeleton tracking,

Microsoft never creates anything. They just pay people money to make stuff for them.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (0, Redundant)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205614)

They didn't innovate, they just bought the technology from some small Israeli company. Or maybe they bought the whole company, I don't remember. One or the other.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1, Interesting)

andydread (758754) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205834)

They didn't create it. The licenesed the camera system from a military company. They were even told to wait for the new system as it's much better than the current cheap system that Microsoft licensed. So no they did not invent this. Just a few minutes of googling would have made this obvious to you. Also Here [youtube.com] you can see that this idea is not even original. Dude figured out how to do this ages ago with a Wii-mote

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206058)

It is so funny that you point to a video of a guy who actually went to work for Microsfot to develop the Kinect.

The thing about the Kinect is not the camera per-se but the complete system for gaming. Including the SDK and API that Microsoft had to build in order to introduce the abilities of PrimeSense hardware to Xbox games...

Also, your video shows you have no idea what you are talking about, comparing the Wii IR sensor with a set of cameras that can detect depth.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206210)

Funny you should make that crack about googling because if YOU had googled around a little bit then you would have found this recent article [wired.co.uk] which goes into detail about how Kinect came together and shows that Microsoft did a lot more than just buy the PrimeSense technology and repackage it. The PrimeSense hardware alone was not enough to do what the Microsoft researchers envisioned.

The reason a lot of people are excited about this is because Microsoft did something truly innovative here. Try to be mature enough to admit that.

Re:I thought microsoft didn't innovate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208842)

Microsoft didn't invent RGB-D cameras. They've been around for a while. They just took advantage of a company which developed an affordable version to use the technology to create a gaming accessory in attempt to respond to trends in the market (Wii, Farmville).

Is it good for "everyone" to get the technology out there in a visible way? Probably. But Microsoft's main contribution is turning existing technology into a product. Yeah, that's a major thing...but it's not their innovation, and "that Kinect thing" is not the actual technology.

Open Source Dance Music (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205490)

Make an open source music video dancing and/or air guitar game and you will win.

This is good.... (1)

corp769 (1937266) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205508)

This being said, the sales of the kinect will most likely sky rocket due to us hackers wanting some money, let-alone a lot of people are going to want to buy it just to hack it.

Ok, Google: (3, Insightful)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205520)

You are committed to improve user experience and implement cool toys in Linux?

Then do something about better graphics drivers (help the guys developing them, or put pressure on manufacturers to open specs). You are going to need it for Chrome OS eventually, and you will gain a lot of good karma from the geeks around the world.

Re:Ok, Google: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34205824)

You are committed to improve user experience and implement cool toys in Linux?

Then do something about better graphics drivers (help the guys developing them, or put pressure on manufacturers to open specs). You are going to need it for Chrome OS eventually, and you will gain a lot of good karma from the geeks around the world.

ATI are already open thanks to the AMD purchase. NVidia will never open up, but we already have two open source drivers (sans 3D) support. Chrome will not need it, h.264 is done in hardware with very cheap blu-ray SoC products. Why do you think toys like the iphone and cheapo media players can handle video without getting into a sweat. Linux and Chrome gaming isn't going to happen.

Re:Ok, Google: (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205836)

I strongly suspect that Google either considers the matter of Linux drivers largely solved(ie. Intel anything except that GMA 500 crap will work fine, just not very fast in any OS, NVIDIA spits on OSS; but mostly knows how to make the trains run on time within their binary blob world, AMD/ATI has made substantial commitments to improved openness and to their closed source stuff not sucking) or something to be solved with much larger piles of money, quietly "We have every expectation of shipping 1-2 million ChromeOS devices a quarter. It is our comittment to our customers, and a requirement of our product design, that the graphical experience be both rich and rock-solid..." *raises eyebrows significantly at meeting room full of competing vendors*.

While I would certainly like to see them buy the Nouveau guys some beer or something, I suspect that, for the purposes of an entity like Google, graphics is either a solved problem, or an area where they don't need to go with penny-ante public announcements.

(In addition, of course, this current competition is sponsored by a guy who just works for Google. Obviously it is unlikely that Google is going to sack him for it, but their only support for the competition is by the indirect means of paying the guy's salary for work he does for them, leaving him with the cash to offer a prize. This isn't a Google competition.)

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206524)

I must admit that you are right - Google does seem to see this problem as 'solved'. However, I got a feeling that we are still not there yet - I searched for comparison test in FPS difference between two OS, but couldn't find one nice comprehensive test. Please inform me if you find one, I would be very interested to see end results.

I speak from my bitter experience with nvidia drivers. Maybe I'm the exception and not the rule.

I know we would see a lot more Linux distros installed when it would have a nicer gaming support (I can honestly say that the most interest for computers, as a lot of other geeks out there, I gained by trying to install games). Maybe the drivers are good, the games are easy to install and stable, the controllers are easy configurable - but I don't know about it;

Then forgive my ignorance, but be aware - if I as a computer geek don't know about it - how will the average Joe Plumber? Or better, his son? These are the generations born accustomed to fiddling with high-tech gadgets, they should be a target audience for new users - if we want 'a year of Linux desktop'.

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208244)

I think that the basic problem is that Google's desires(and thus expenditures) do not line up with those of the freelance linux-on-the-desktop community.

Google (correctly) perceives that, because their area of strength lies in their essentially opaque search, advertising, and operations expertise, much of which is OSS based but purely in house, exposed only by web APIs, that they have no particular competitive advantage in desktop and mobile, unlike MS(desktop) or Apple(mobile, high-end consumer desktop).

This is why their efforts in these areas are either OSS, and basically designed to bolster use of their core services(ie. Chrome is not intended to make money, it is intended to light a fire under the ass of every subpar JS/HTML5 implementation out there, therefore, they have nothing to gain by making it closed source. Similarly, Android is designed to kill off the dumbphones that make using the internet on the go too painful, and thus bolster Google's mobile/location ad business and keep Apple from being in a position to cut off Google's air supply on the mobile side. If it gets good enough, they may use their control of the Market and some of the core apps to try to extract some cash; but it is basically just a loss leader, hence again the openness).

Things like Earth and Sketchup are oddballs, aquisitions offered as freeware, but continuing the aquired company's sale of a premium version, presumably in the spirit of cost recovery.

In general, though, Google's only real interest in the desktop and mobile spaces is not OSS or freedom per se; but in increasing the number of people using web applications and service, where google has great strength, and in attempting to weaken MS and Apple to prevent them from achieving a position strong enough to use against them. They(probably correctly) don't seem to view linux-on-the-arbitrary-desktop/laptop as a solution to this problem, especially catering to the needs of other than casual gamers.

Because of their size, and the not truly horrible(merely rather uncertain on a per-unique-model basis) of linux graphics, Google can safely consider the problem solved. If they say "1 million units" there are plenty of vendors who will say "would you like source with that, sir?". Also, because openness on the desktop and mobile is simple a means to Google's ends, if they get the source under NDA and have to ship a blob, that doesn't conflict with their goals to any great degree. They'd prefer full OSS, just for cost reasons; but they have no real need to fight heroically for it, since they are large enough to get engineering cooperation from makers of binary blobs.

I agree that the problem is not fully solved for the individual wishing to run linux on his desktop/laptop; but I don't think Google cares. Their announced intention, with both ChromeOS and Android, is OSS; but shipped by partners with hardware. If you want to have a go at building it yourself, have fun; but only the stuff shipped by partners, on hardware, with engineering/integration done for you, is Google's problem.

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206068)

Stupid, this does not have anything to do with Google.

The only reason why Google is mentioned is because this guys happens to work here.

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206312)

If a guy from UPS said that he would sponsor it - than it wouldn't be a news.

Actions of its employees somewhat can be reflected as actions of the company; If not, this guy would be fired already. Only this way the Google was given excuse in the event of a problematic outcome: "Hey, it wasn't us - it was this guy".

Anyway, do you really believe that he actually gave this announcement without consulting corporate lawyers?

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34208978)

Then, not than.

Re:Ok, Google: (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210746)

Thenks

Kinect hype (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205548)

Can someone please explain what this Kinect thing is? I heard it was something Microsoft developed but despite that it is just as cool as if was Apple that made it. Please someone enlighten me, why do I want a Kinect?

Re:Kinect hype (1)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205612)

Can someone please explain what this Kinect thing is?

AFAIK it's a webcam with a "distance" channel as well as RGB (possibly also a temperature channel and noise cancelling mic, though I may be imagining those)

Re:Kinect hype (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209472)

Can someone please explain what this Kinect thing is?

AFAIK it's a webcam with a "distance" channel as well as RGB (possibly also a temperature channel and noise cancelling mic, though I may be imagining those)

Sadly no temperature. Noise canceling done in software.

Re:Kinect hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34209664)

Can someone please explain what this Kinect thing is?

AFAIK it's a webcam with a "distance" channel as well as RGB (possibly also a temperature channel and noise cancelling mic, though I may be imagining those)

Sadly no temperature. Noise canceling done in software.

Yes, but the skeleton detection is quite cool for a consumer grade product. This is not only about the camera.

Re:Kinect hype (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205650)

It's a couple of cameras coupled to some processing capability which makes it capable of human figure image recognition. Basically you stand in it's field of view and it looks at you and calculates with reasonable precision the positions of all your major joints. It's a posture sensor.

Re:Kinect hype (2, Funny)

nanomanc (858727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205860)

It tells me where my joints are? I want one :)

Re:Kinect hype (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34209454)

It's a couple of cameras coupled to some processing capability which makes it capable of human figure image recognition. Basically you stand in it's field of view and it looks at you and calculates with reasonable precision the positions of all your major joints. It's a posture sensor.

Nope, what you described is done in software.

Re:Kinect hype (2, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34210022)

It is indeed - but the software runs on the Kinect itsself. Embedded processor. The 360 is a games console - it needs all the processor time it can get for graphics. The Kinect itsself does most of the image processing (specifically the task of producing a depth map), reducing the load on the 360.

Re:Kinect hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34212306)

It is indeed - but the software runs on the Kinect itsself. Embedded processor. The 360 is a games console - it needs all the processor time it can get for graphics. The Kinect itsself does most of the image processing (specifically the task of producing a depth map), reducing the load on the 360.

Again no, software runs on xbox, kinect just streams 2 video feeds and 4 audio ones. Kinect doesnt do image processing, it does structured light. "human figure image recognition" is done by Xbox (40something points skeletal reconstruction).

Re:Kinect hype (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205654)

Its a webcam with some depth perception and a mic. I dont know why anyone would get worked up about it. The original stuff was something else since it did much the calc stuff in hardware, this version does most in software.

Also, it was developed in a company Microsoft bought and then maimed it to pieces. Microsoft bought a good product and made it worse.

Re:Kinect hype (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34205706)

Can someone please explain what this "I'll be anti-Microsoft but praise Apple" thing is? I heard it on Slashdot where Microsoft is evil because they're closed and bastardly but despite that it is just as cool to be into Apple because they make even more closed end products even if they are glossy. Please someone enlighten me, why do I want to listen to this crap?

Re:Kinect hype (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206012)

Apple gets plenty of crap around here for their walled garden. And this is the first time in human history that Microsoft made something really cool. Can we please applaud that? Or do we all have to be grumpy curmudgeons like you?

I love this new Kinect craze! (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205648)

Arguably, this is the coolest gadget around since the 2007 iPhone. Its potential to revolutionize the UI field are enormous. Just as we were finally arriving to touch screens, there you go... no screens at all! :)

(of course, I'm joking... the same efficiency and functionality is years in the future)

huh? (2, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34205676)

I'm having trouble giving a fuck. Someone please enlighten me to why anyone would want, what's basically a camera made by Microsoft, trained on their living room 24hrs a day? We'll be able to plat tux racer with hand movements?

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34205832)

How about changeing volume/channel and fast forwarding with hand guestures?

Re:huh? (1)

peterbye (708092) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206128)

Yeah that'll be great, having to sit completely still whilst watching a film in case you change channels or skip to the next chapter whilst reaching for your beer.

Re:huh? (4, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206034)

We'll be able to plat tux racer with hand movements?

Actually, that was my third idea for a Kinect application: a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

Re:huh? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206200)

a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

Not as cool as the vertical shoot-em-up where you move within the bounds by leaning, shoot lasers by saying "pewpewpew", and pause by saying "beedoobeedoo", though.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206756)

Actually, that was my third idea for a Kinect application: a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

A game would be nice, but a car interface which allowed you to drive a real car that way would be even better.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34206786)

Up-shifting is done by suddenly dropping 2 octaves and down shifting occurs automatically during braking, which is triggered by doing a high-pitched "Screeeech!"

Re:huh? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34206920)

nd if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

[prays]
Oh please, please let there be a "nitrous gas" option. That would be totally AWESOME!

Re:huh? (1)

triso (67491) | more than 3 years ago | (#34222712)

[...]

[prays]

Oh please, please let there be a "nitrous gas" option. That would be totally AWESOME!

There's always the "methane gas" option but not when you have visitors, PUHleese.

Re:huh? (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34207336)

lol

or even better a first person shooter where you make "gun hands" and shoot by going "pew pew" or thrusting your hands forward or upward in mock recoil... :)

http://newclip.org/ (1)

zangurabarca (1884320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34220846)

We'll be able to plat tux racer with hand movements?

Actually, that was my third idea for a Kinect application: a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

We'll be able to plat tux racer with hand movements?

Actually, that was my third idea for a Kinect application: a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

We'll be able to plat tux racer with hand movements?

Actually, that was my third idea for a Kinect application: a racing game where you steer with a pretend-wheel in the air. And if possible, accelerate by going "BWBWBWBWBWB" with your lips. That'd be really cool.

http://newclip.org/ [newclip.org]

Re:huh? (1)

c0rnwallis (1942634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265478)

Perhaps a very simple sort of time-lapse gadget could be programmed, too see how much traffic your room gets.

gn%aa (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34208396)

You don't need to to this. For is wiped 0ff and Errors. Future I Tossers, went out Is also a miserable His clash with for a living got uncover a story of

Just For Kicks (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34231112)

I would love to see -- ANY of these tech demo's running on the PS3 - If not only because it can be done - that , and the headline would only piss microsoft off even more ! (one would probably need a jailbroken machine at least to start with) ....

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