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Hacked iRobot Uses XBox Kinect To See World

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the gesticulating-at-robots dept.

Input Devices 124

kkleiner writes "A student at MIT's Personal Robotics Group is going to put Microsoft's Kinect to a good use: controlling robots. Philipp Robbel has hacked together the Kinect 3D sensor with an iRobot Create platform and assembled a battery-powered bot that can see its environment and obey your gestured commands. Tentatively named KinectBot, Robbel's creation can generate some beautifully detailed 3D maps of its surroundings and wirelessly send them to a host computer. KinectBot can also detect nearby humans and track their movements to understand where they want it to go." In related but less agreeable news, "Dennis Durkin, who is both COO and CFO for Microsoft's Xbox group, told investors this week that Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen, and to custom-tailor content based on the people it recognizes."

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ROS drivers (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265610)

http://www.ros.org/wiki/kinect_node [ros.org]

With the calibration the accuracy of Kinect is much improved.. and ROS has algorithms that can do this automatically for anyone lucky enough to have a manipulator - speaking of which, when is Microsoft coming out with a $150 robotic arm? :)

Re:ROS drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34265776)

It was in development, but kept getting all goo'd up

Re:ROS drivers (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266566)

While the work the MIT student did is noteworthy, it's really quite trivial thanks to ROS. I do robotics research using ROS, and SLAM, navigation, planning, etc. are all handled by ROS automatically as long as you provide the appropriate data streams. It's really as simple as plugging in a device. Even the gesture recognition is handled by the kinect driver and issuing commands from gestures is trivial at that point.

I think the real recognition should be given to the group at CCNY [ros.org] (no I don't got school there) who did the work of getting the kinect driver working in ROS in the first place, and aren't even mentioned in this article.

Re:ROS drivers (1)

story645 (1278106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34270686)

I'd mod you up if you weren't already at 5. I go to CCNY so I'm all for their group getting as much recognition as possible 'cause they've been really active in advocating open source tools in a school that's been really meh/haphazard about it.

Google (5, Interesting)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265612)

Google BotView. Little robots roaming the world making 3d models of everything.

Re:Google (1)

mewrei (1206850) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265662)

Wasn't this a Youtube viral vid at one point?

Re:Google (2, Interesting)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266464)

I actually had that exact same idea, but for open street maps. Why not put these things on cars, bikes, etc. to render open source 3d maps?

Re:Google (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266826)

Well the ideal distance for the sensors is apparently 6-8 feet. Unless you can get very close to the objects you're mapping, I'm guessing it'd be too lossy to just mount on a car and drive around. Having said that, maybe the data would still be "good enough" to render a very rough 3D landscape (i.e. probably good enough for most people's purposes). I'd definitely be interested to see the results of such a test.

Re:Google (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269794)

Because they already have laser scanners on board [educatingsilicon.com] , also seen on the us versions, and video [unc.edu] related ways of making 3D data...and I can only assume they have a lower resolution video to go with those pictures.

You think they'd shovel in the truckloads of cash it takes to map practically every street in the world and *not* take 3d data!?

Re:Google (1)

Lusa (153265) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267120)

Make them out of lego like bricks that can be reconfigured and we have a V0.1 Replicator. I'm sure there won't be any problems with little robot armies building everything for us

YES! (1, Informative)

dcmoebius (1527443) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265616)

This. Is. Awesome. I'm really hoping that this becomes a reasonable DIY project...

biometrics lurk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34265638)

Eyeball scanning is only a step away, then they'll know if you've paid for the game service. Not on record, oops give us a credit card first... We know you've not played this game before in this living room.

Re:biometrics lurk (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265738)

Solution: wear sunglasses when you play Kinect games!

Re:biometrics lurk (1)

sortadan (786274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273812)

yeah, should be some laws regarding how your image and actions are used for sure... seems like that's in direct conflict with your right to privacy. Playing a video game you would not know, as a lay-person, that your image was being transmitted out to third parties.

as for examples of what the kinect can do, i thought this was more interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QrnwoO1-8A [youtube.com]

MOD PARENT UP (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266294)

May sound like a joke but I guarantee you that the MPAA would love nothing less than being able to license HD-Ray movies on a per-viewer basis, and refuse to play if your doberman is in the room. I already stole revenue from them when I watched my brother's copies of the Spiderman trilogy on his HD TV (I guess technically I stole from Sony too, as it was a sony TV and a PS3 I was using...) without paying a cent

Re:biometrics lurk (-1, Offtopic)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266440)

It won't need to do an eye scan. There was a story a few days ago http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/11/15/1347205/Exciting-Kinect-Stuff-Already-Coming-Out [slashdot.org] about things people are using the hacked kinect for. One guy is showing how it can be used for object recognition. I'm sure the tech will eventually be good enough to actually recognize a specific person with out the eye scan.

Re:biometrics lurk (2, Funny)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266470)

Yeah, they'll use the shape of your ears instead!

Re:biometrics lurk (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266840)

I thought Kinect did that out of the box - I remember reading that it used facial recognition to sign you into your account. Did they drop this? And if not, what happens if you're one of identical twins?

Re:biometrics lurk (-1, Offtopic)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267642)

I asked a guy in my office who owns one and XBox. He said his doesn't do that, but he doesn't doubt that it could or might be doing it under users' noses.

Re:biometrics lurk (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267974)

Actually iris scanning is here now, and actually fast and reliable. We tested a device that integrates with access control systems not long ago and I was absolutely shocked at how amazingly well it worked. Enrollment is done by standing anywhere in a 1 meter circle centered 2 meters from the front of the device, in less than three seconds, both eyes. Any height from Shaquile O'Neil to a wheelchair-bound granny. We tried, and couldn't make it fail. The only obstruction at the moment keeping it from widespread deployment is that they're ridiculously expensive, but that's because at present they're essentially custom made one at a time. Now that the electrical and optical engineers have had their fun it's time for the manufacturing engineers to have their turn, and you'll see costs drop dramatically.

Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34265656)

Why is it that the advertising potential of anything is always mentioned?

Re:Advertising (2, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266212)

There's money in it. And it's not necessarily bad, mind you. I admit Microsoft's suggestion sounds creepily like pretty invasive spying, but I'm toying with ideas to have big screens with advertisements or other messages in some public space, respond to people standing in front of them. Show several items, and zoom in on the one they look or point at, for example. Stop playing a message when the person walks away. Show stuff bigger when they're far away, smaller when they're near. That sort of stuff.

I'm not usually one for advertising, but the company I work for happens to do a lot of different things, and this sounds like something right up their alley.

Re:Advertising (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267014)

It's Microsoft's legendary marketing department in action. "A story's about to break about some innovative use of clever technology that's only just been released? That might cause people to look on MS products, and by extraction the company itself, favourably! Quick, let's put out a press release about how Kinect watches you channel surfing in your underwear."

How long until... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34265682)

Microsoft stakes claim to everything that ever comes out of the Kinect?

Less ad money? (4, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265696)

Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen,

That could be bad for those who are getting TV ad money.

When advertisers can actually measure the number of people walking out and ignoring the ads, they often start paying less for ads :).

Re:Less ad money? (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265808)

The next thing you know is some DRM in your TV that disables the mute function during ads :)

Re:Less ad money? (3, Funny)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266062)

Thankfully Disney has prior art on this, with ads on DVDs that cannot be skipped

Re:Less ad money? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266636)

I hook up the g/f's laptop to the TV to watch DVDs. VLC will skip anything you tell it to, normally heading straight for the main DVD menu.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266720)

You can tell XBMC to skip annoying PGCs but sometimes it fails. But so does VLC.

Re:Less ad money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34267728)

Wow, you have a girlfriend? What kind of laptop is it?

Re:Less ad money? (1)

tj111 (1275078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34270128)

Protip: Hit [Stop][Stop][Play]. This will skip directly to the main menu on the majority of DVD players.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

xded (1046894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266670)

Pumping up the volume if you leave the room seems more annoying. Thus more likely.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

losinggeneration (797436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267456)

And in the not too distant future, some DRM inside you will disable your movements so you have to watch the ads

Re:Less ad money? (1)

suutar (1860506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273834)

nah, at that point they just bill you directly for every show that hits your optic nerve, and skip the advertising. Channel surfing gets pricey :)

Re:Less ad money? (2, Funny)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267994)

And deploys sofabelts that prevent you from getting up and walking away while it applies glue to hold your eyes open.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269586)

That's just silly, you'd have to throw out all current TVs and make new ones that can't work with current AV systems. I mean, I know YOU think it's silly, but the mods disagree ;) More likely you'll just get Fox style 1 hour ads. Bones has been rendered nearly unwatchable. There was an episode last season where the secondary storyline was entirely about a character's new Honda. And, there have been others. Everybody comments on it. "Wow, a minivan, but you're not a soccer mom!" "Haha, that's a common misconception, actually minivans are great for everybody. As an artist, I love the stow and go seating for bringing a large piece to an art gallery! Plus it has a reverse camera, so downtown parking is a breeze even if the back is full of paintings!" Now they all have iPhones and whenever they make calls it zooms in on the iPhone to show how cool the multitouch gestures are. And they all use iPads instead of actual paper files. Instead of dropping a folder of pictures "do you recognize any of these men" they give them an iPad and zoom in on them swiping each time to go from one picture to the next. And the characters and the suspects always comment "Wow these iPads are so cool, everybody should be using these instead of paper files!" Every fucking episode. They had a 1 hour ad for Avatar, too. The entire episode was about the characters lined up for the premiere of Avatar.

And, actually, I think just about every single cop show on TV, this season, has switched over to using iPhones and iPads instead of normal phones and paper files. Because it makes sense that field agents would want to use phones that get like 1 hour of talk time between two-hour long charge periods.

And that's only the beginning. Next season I hear the main story arc for CSI will be about a serial killer who kills people using Pepsi, and they will have to enlist the help of good, wholesome Coca-Cola mascot Santa Clause to finally catch him. House will start out just throwing in "If only our patient had All State insurance, the treatment would be covered. Oh well, guess he dies, but at least I know why!" but rapidly degenerate into just 1 hour infomercials about health insurance. There's already a new Nick cartoon about characters who fight evil mutants that use the power of foot odor for world domination. Their only weakness? Sketchers' new odor fighting fabrics. Seriously.

In the end, I'd think that all of the blatant and poorly done product placement would get people mad. But it appears that everybody is totally fine with it. I thought people would object to being shown ads at the theater, but now they're up to 30 minutes long. How soon before you won't be allowed to go in late because "You missed the ads" I wonder...

Re:Less ad money? (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265860)

No. What will happen is that ads will become louder and more obnoxious, so people will not be able to ignore them. And as long as it brings in more money then it costs, ads will be there.
People are so dicile that they think that ads are something we can't live without anymore.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266038)

*Denham's Dentifrice*, "the lilies in the field", *Denham's Dentifrice*, "the lilies in the field", *Denham's Dentifrice*, "the lilies in the field" ,*Denham's Dentifrice*, *Denham's Dentifrice*, *Denham's Dentifrice*,

Re:Less ad money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34266770)

*dental plan* *lisa needs braces*

Re:Less ad money? (2, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266042)

In my experience, ads being louder and more obnoxious results in muting the TV or tuning to a different channel.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266888)

Indeed. I used to leave the ads on because they didn't bother me and occasionally you'd see a funny one that everyone would be talking about the next day. However, I have pretty sensitive hearing and if I have the TV at a volume that is right for the programs, I physically can't stand to sit through ads any more, I have no choice but to instantly change channel (or just DVR everything and fast forward the ads). I guess there must be enough people for who this isn't an issue to make it worth their annoying a few potential customers, but I honestly can't see how anyone can willingly sit through ads anymore.

Re:Less ad money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34268042)

Actually I suspect that the effectivness of TV ads is largely unknown. The marketers know the had X sales, and the ran Y ads and surmise the effectivness of their ads in largely the same way a gambler who put is bet on Y and won X determines that Y is his "lucky" number.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269022)

The effects are pretty well known. However they are seldom uniquely TV ads. You have a whole campaign, including TV ads. There also is product placement in the stores, magazine ads, viral and a whole lot more.

Re:Less ad money? (3, Insightful)

DeionXxX (261398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265862)

This is true for all analog -> digital advertising. Digital advertising is so enticing to brands because they can MEASURE how their ads are actually doing. Are people looking at my ad? Are they interacting with it? How long? Are then then going to my site? Are they buying something? Are they coming back later? Did they invite someone else? Did those people come to our site? Did they buy something? On and on and on...

Those are all questions we can answer now with digital advertising. You couldn't do that with "analog" ads in print, on TV or Radio.

So at first companies stopped spending as much, then they realized that their normal ads didn't work, but soon, they started spending much more money on digital because they could maximize their returns now.

So in this case, advertisers might start buying less ads if they see that people are ignoring them and leaving the room. However, advertisers will soon figure out what works and we'll have ads that are better tailored for the experience and will make people actually watch / interact with them. This happened with TV ads too... once DVR's became popular, advertisers created ads just for DVR's.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

firefly42 (1942362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266286)

Especially since ads can be tracked, ad companies will always find a way to buy ad space and sell ads, that will not be changing. Ad companies will just have to be more creative about how they do it.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

DrMaurer (64120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267582)

Let's start like this: I think you're right. Eventually.

But then they'll realize that they can make you do stuff to keep your program going. This might be cool for kids and exercise programs, but I don't want to _have_ to do something so I can find out what happens in the last 15 minutes of {TV SHOW}.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267702)

I don't follow. Why is your Xbox360 on when you're watching TV? Doesn't everyone tip over or unplug webcams when they're not in use anyway? Are they going to make a functioning kinect setup a requirement for watching TV?

Re:Less ad money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34271088)

They'll just make the whole TV pause until you come back in the room and force you to watch their garbage ads. I'll never buy something because of an ad, but then again, there are those that buy apple.

Re:Less ad money? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34271092)

Which is funny, because there actually value did not diminish. If there where getting a million dollars worth of advertising, knowing who walks out doesn't matter because they had always been doing that. IN fact, they should pay more for this information. Now the can do real world research on how to get people to watch ads.

Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (5, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265704)

In related but less agreeable news, "Dennis Durkin, who is both COO and CFO for Microsoft's Xbox group, told investors this week that Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen, and to custom-tailor content based on the people it recognizes."

Seriously, this is the first thing I thought when I read aboutthe Kinect. Here is a box, wired to the internet, with a hundred little beams that can not only tell what you're doing, what the room looks like to absurd levels of detail. Talk about 1984-style, in-soviet-russia type monitoring.

Forget the advertisers, with enough of these things deployed the feds won't need those vans parked outside your house, they'll grab the data in real-time from either the ISP or Mircrosoft.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265716)

For it to be of value for that you'd need to give one to everyone (woohoo!) and forbid them from turning it off (doh!).

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266416)

Just like everyone cleans out their cookies, flash cookies and browser database?
Think of the fun the feds/state task force could have with a new MS http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) [wikipedia.org] for the Kinect.
Once you are on their list for a warrantless networking sneak and peek, your junk is moving up the tubes.
The audio, visual and depth to plots or unatural acts on your sofa.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (3, Interesting)

paganizer (566360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265824)

The first thing I thought about was cheap motion capture / do-it-yourself BVH file generation; I'm a semi-pro animator & cgi guy, and this is sort of a holy grail for the basement computer graphics community.

I'm pretty sure all a person would need is 2 or more Kinects and some relatively simple code to make something that could compete with systems that cost around $5000. I waste a LOT of money on various software packages, but 5k is pretty much out of the question; an additional Xbox 360 and 2 Kinects, though... There would be a LOT more amateur and low dollar animations made.

But, after that, yeah, the level of monitoring people would be potentially opening themselves to is pretty amazing, also.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265872)

1. you don't need an xbox 360
2. trying to use two will interfere with each other..

See, the way it works is, the unit projects an pattern in the infrared and a camera creates images which are processed to infer depth. That camera is calibrated with the standard color camera so you get full RGB-depth. So if you had two projecting the pattern you wouldn't get good images in the infrared.

One way to defeat this may be to add a shutter to the projector and synchronize them so one is projecting when the other isn't.. you'd have to synchronize the frame dropping too. Another idea is to add a difference filter over each projector/camera pair.

There's also the 100% software solution of actually modeling what you see automatically.. so you start with half a human, the human turns around and you get the other half, etc. It'll be mostly accurate.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265936)

Depending on the CCDs in the cameras, you could replace the IR diodes with UV ones in one of the units to avoid the interference issue. (the projector part that is.)

Many cheap CCDs can pick up both IR and UV.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265892)

It would also be great for 3D artists, since it would partially bridge the gap between physical and digital modeling. This could let somebody with old-school sculpting 'skillz' create some really nice 3D object meshes. Required hardware: Lazy suzan, Microsoft Kinect, 3D scanning software, well lit room. (the most expensive item being the software.)

Not just for detail objects either-- Could realistically be mounted to a rotary table, and placed inside a building to grab the interior as a 3D mockup. Great for inserting CG into a live action set, or for mocking up an interior in meatspace cheaply, and then cleaning it up digitally for production use later. (Styrofoam and plaster are pretty cheap.)

If 3D printers ever make their debut in the home marketplace, it would allow all kinds of 3D collaborative effort over the internet.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265852)

Seriously, this is the first thing I thought when I read aboutthe Kinect. Here is a box, wired to the internet, with a hundred little beams that can not only tell what you're doing, what the room looks like to absurd levels of detail. Talk about 1984-style, in-soviet-russia type monitoring.

Forget the advertisers, with enough of these things deployed the feds won't need those vans parked outside your house, they'll grab the data in real-time from either the ISP or Mircrosoft.

Just like the movie Antitrust, but much worse.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

ShadowFalls (991965) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265900)

It looks like the book/movie might come true after all. A bunch of robots controlled remotely will seek total domination. Though I am sure the US military is thinking about ways to incorporate such technology for drones. Someone waving a gun? The drone can detect that and it takes them out. Who needs soldiers to storm buildings anymore? A battlefield with nothing but machines is a scary thought really.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266926)

Simpler and more effective to have the drone remotely controlled by a human. It might seem cheaper to have them autonomous, but they'd be too easily fooled - for instance, put a pistol inside a doll, the robot thinks you're innocently carrying a child, bang - one dead lump of expensive hardware, how do you react to that, shoot on sight anyone carrying a baby?

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269384)

With the intrusive monitoring possibilities of this system the 'battlefield' is rather quickly going to become your living room. Microphones don't seem to be included yet, but that's a really cheap mod and will probably be requested by users that want voice activated menus.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266132)

Fortunately there's no law and hence no enforcement preventing you from unplugging your network cable and/or Kinect when it suits to prevent this ever being a problem.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266668)

Forget the advertisers, with enough of these things deployed the feds won't need those vans parked outside your house, they'll grab the data in real-time from either the ISP or Mircrosoft.

Allow me to present my solution to your 1984-esque dystopia.

1. Aquire [blogspot.com]
2. Invert.
3. Place over Kinect.

Simple solutions to simple problems.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266940)

True, but a remote control mechanism that you have to go cover up/uncover every time you need to use it doesn't seem very effective. Unfortunately I suspect most people would just take the privacy hit and leave it uncovered. It raises a LOT of tricky issues though. What are they capturing precisely and where does it go (if they're capturing video for instance, is all the analytics done locally and the video discarded, or does the stream get sent back to MS or even out to third parties - considering these are going to get a lot of use from kids that sounds like an instant recipe for a PR disaster).

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267026)

Given it does not require live, and throw video data over the web would quickly be noticed geeks looking at flashing router lights, I think it is save to say it is all done locally.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267914)

Dont be dramatic. How is this different than laptops shipping with built-in webcams, which seems to be every laptop on the market? A few years ago it was "ZOMG MS IS SENDING YOUR DATA TO THE NSA - WE FOUND A STRING NAMED NSA SOMEWHERE IN WINDOWS!!!" The conspiracy theories are cute, but I'll wait for hard evidence, thanks.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272660)

Yay! I've been wanting my very own telescreen for a long time. Because let's face it: the biggest problem with TV is that it doesn't watch you while you're watching it. But now that problem has been fixed, and I'm glad to see Microsoft has recognized the opportunities from letting other people monitor you without disclosure, oversight, or consent. But they sure kept us waiting: 26 years behind schedule.

Re:Was anyone surprised about the privacy bit? (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274018)

To implement the best practice guidelines for statecraft in 1984, they needed something like this. You just thought it was a sci-fi novel huh?

Feature Request #42: (5, Funny)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265766)

Hand gesture to "make me a sandwich". Wait iRobot says No? Okay, gesture "sudo make me a sandwich" :-)

Re:Feature Request #42: (1)

slashnik (181800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265890)

What, you need admin rights to enter your kitchen

Re:Feature Request #42: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34266254)

Yes, because that is where the central core lives.
You piss her off and there is no file-switching for a month.

Re:Feature Request #42: (2, Funny)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266862)

Of course. It's way to dangerous to just let anyone in there, what with my woman chained to the sink.

Re:Feature Request #42: (1)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266082)

So sudo in this case is raising your back hand? Gotta love them fembots.

Re:Feature Request #42: (1)

ranulf (182665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266550)

iRobot, recognise this: nlm

Re:Feature Request #42: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34271444)

Umm.. seriously? http://xkcd.com/149/

Re:Feature Request #42: (1)

VatuLevu (1923418) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272134)

this comment is made of win

How nice... (4, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265792)

An MIT student works out an interesting way to merge Kinetic with existing technologies for the benefit of users.

vs.

A Microsoft rep talks about how Kinetic can be used to foster yet more advertising on people ...

Interesting difference in the application of advanced technology.

Re:How nice... (2, Insightful)

maeka (518272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266568)

An MIT student works out an interesting way to merge Kinetic with existing technologies for the benefit of users.

vs.

A Microsoft rep talks about how Kinetic can be used to foster yet more advertising on people ...

"I liked the University. They gave us money, they gave us the facilities and we didn't have to produce anything! I've worked in the private sector. They expect results. You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there."

Re:How nice... (2, Insightful)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266872)

Both are working for the benefit of their users/customers. You are just misguided about who MS' customers are.

Re:How nice... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273520)

Bingo! This applies to so many other companies out there as well. Google/Facebook? You may be a user, but you are not a customer. The advertisers are the customers, you are a product. Sometimes, it's worth it. Sometimes it ain't.

Unless you're paying for Google docs or enterprise stuff. Then you're a customer. I think the fact that they have both customer/users and product/users is one of the important things keeping them (somewhat more) honest. If they screwed the product/users like Facebook does, all those enterprise customer/users would suddenly have no way to trust them, and would probably go looking elsewhere...FAST.

How soon we forget. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34268816)

An MIT student works out an interesting way to merge Kinetic with existing technologies for the benefit of users.

Like this technology isn't going to be commercialized for Microsoft's benefit and others.

OLPC also emerged from MIT. 1.5 million units distributed. The winner in that round? XP on the Netbook. The "walled garden" of the iOS. Google and AdSense. The "open source" product whose sole commercial purpose is to sell the buyer to the advertiser.

Add a terahertz camera! (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265796)

1. The internet runs on advertising and pr0n.

2. Advertisers will pay more if they can see who's watching.

3. Terahertz cameras can see through clothing.

...

Profit!!

Deja-vu on the marketing? (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265848)

That the Kinect could be used to spy on users for marketing reasons seems awfully familiar-- Oh, that's right. I brought it up last week [slashdot.org] .

Fancy that.

Here's hoping my concerns about law enforcement co-opting it bear less fruit...

losing privacy in your living room (1)

davejenkins (99111) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265856)

I commented on this earlier this week. The potential ramifications for losing privacy [davejenkins.com] in your living room are pretty bad...

Surrogates (2, Informative)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265868)

The movie with Bruce Willis comes to mind...

Good for the gander... (1)

otter42 (190544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34265908)

So, wait, let me get this straight. Reverse-engineering the drivers for use on non-Xboxes is "hacking" and "unintended" use of a Microsoft product, but Microsoft is only too happy to sell this product to advertisers? Because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the advertisers will not be using an Xbox.

Re:Good for the gander... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34265978)

Why not? It would be conceivable to use an Xbox to power a large flat screen (hey, this is the typical application of the console). Except instead of using it to play a game, it would run some kind of advertisement software. It's got a network connection as well, which is handy to push out new advertisement updates to it.

Microsoft's raising a stink over non-Xbox Kinect drivers makes a lot of sense put in that context. I guess they were hoping that any specialized applications would have to be developed for the Xbox platform, meaning that people would have to buy an Xbox to power their special applications...

Except... wait a minute. That makes no sense either. As far as I know, an Xbox is sold at a loss. (Or at least, used to be.) So why would Microsoft want to sell these specialized applications Xboxes - making a loss - instead of having them buy some kind of other PC, making Microsoft money from Windows licenses? Hmm... oh right. Open source drivers. Linux. Which is evil because it doesn't make Microsoft money!

I can't help but think Microsoft would be better off having released Windows drivers and a useful SDK for the Kinect from the start. That way all of these applications would just have been written on the Windows platform instead most likely, making Microsoft money.

In summary: A lot of weird things go on in the head of executives.

Re:Good for the gander... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266282)

No, MS's PR drones just issued a blanket statement saying they wouldn't support reverse engineerd Kinect units and they'd prefer you to connect them to Xboxes instead. Seems reasonable to me. Did you expect GPL'd code for them from MS?
And if MS sell any advertising service (and it's a big IF, the CFO said it was possible, not that it would happen) then obviously part of the service they offer will include support. I could imagine your Kinect in your home tailoring ads to number of people, size etc. I could also imagine a future service using a Kinect sensor outside the Xbox world. Both are possible, both don't exist right now, and both, I'm sure, would be supported if MS officially went down that route.

I was modded to oblivion when I asked the question (0, Offtopic)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266188)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1855134&cid=34133246 [slashdot.org]

And now there's an actual admission?

In related but less agreeable news, "Dennis Durkin, who is both COO and CFO for Microsoft's Xbox group, told investors this week that Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen, and to custom-tailor content based on the people it recognizes."

Is there any way to remove the mod capabilities from the morons that modded me down?

Wait... (1)

uncholowapo (1666661) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266500)

So the Kinect has the ability to be racist? You bastards!

Meta ads (2, Interesting)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34266614)

OK, so what happens if I point the Kinect at the TV when the ads are on? Will it select ads appropriate for the people in the ads? I'm not sure whether the results would be hilarious or depressing.

Big Brother finally arrives... (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34267326)

but instead of being the eyes of a totalitarian state he is the eyes of Big Business. Does the thin sliver of difference between coercion by the state and the connivance of Big Business matter? Both seek to compromise our freedom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Brother_(Nineteen_Eighty-Four) [wikipedia.org]

Innovation! (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34268232)

Kinect can also be used by advertisers to see how many people are in a room when an ad is on screen

Way to innovate Microsoft! Take a really new, useful and powerful technology and use it to do something completely mundane and stupid like tailored advertisements.
Microsoft, you are true visionaries!

DRM fees based on the number of people watching (1)

billrp (1530055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34268610)

The KinectBot will count the number of people watching a movie on a TV, and then that will be used to charge the appropriate per-viewer based fees. And you can earn credits for staying in the room during any TV commercials before/after the movie. And of course, there's no credits given for only partially watching a crappy movie. But if more people enter the room during the movie, the fee will go up...

Next trick (1)

chrysrobyn (106763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269314)

I'd like to submit a vote for hooking this system up to a lawn mower. Automated lawn mowing is why I became an engineer, but I wasn't successful in finding a job doing it. If I could now purchase a lawn mower that would automatically mow between midnight and 3am and a rate slow enough to be nearly silent (a reel mower can do this), sign me up. In fact, this appears to be possible or even easier with the Kinect requirement of little ambient light and IR interference being a problem. I don't like current automated lawn mowers for various reasons, including the requisite subsurface wires and the noisy high RPM small blades.

Solution (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34271174)

make one that works easily and conviently during the day. make it safe and make it so it doesn't need wired in the ground. fully autonomous.

Then when you are rich, have your gardener mow for you at night using a real mower.

Comcast wanted to do this too (2, Interesting)

anglico (1232406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34269438)

Didn't Comcast do this last year when the story broke that they were putting cameras into the cable set top boxes? I guess if you add in a videogame interface it becomes more palatable to the masses?
Link [slashdot.org]

Big Brother ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34270300)

... is alive and well and watching you from Redmond ( obligatory comment, sorry I couldn't resist )

Trademark skirting (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272234)

Tentatively named KinectBot

I recommend instead, to avoid the trademark, go with 'TalBot, borrowing from the original codename Project Natal.

Or, if you want to go female with it, Natalia (or NatalAIa).

KinectBot and Military (1)

MASTA_LEMIWINK (1942620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273206)

This makes you think about the possibilities even for the military. This would help out our troops so much with clearing an area or room or even diffusing a hostage situation. Let's just hope that since its Microsoft that they fix any bugs unlike the failed windows vista...just sayin

urcrazy (1)

urcrazy (1941460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273364)

Taking advantage of PS3 to create the new generation of "japanese idol" seems to be another good idea~!~
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