The next generation of video game control is upon us with the release of Microsoft’s Kinect–which allows users to control special XBOX 360 games with their entire body.
Hackers have been eagerly digging into the device, especially since Microsoft’s Shannon Loftis told Science Friday’s Ira Flatow that no hackers would get in trouble for finding alternate uses for the Kinect:
“I’m very excited to see that people are so inspired that it was less than a week after the Kinect came out before they had started creating and thinking about what they could do.”
Here’s a list of some of our favorite, jaw-dropping hacks: Invisibility without the cloak, 3D video, Minority Report-style computing, real-life Star Wars, and the best shadow puppets you’ve ever seen.
5. Makes the best shadow puppets EVER:
Built in a day by Theo Watson and Emily Gobeille, this little hack replaces your hand and arm with a movable bird puppet. You can control the bird, and even make it squawk.
Video: Vimeo/Theo Watson
4. Real-time light-saber action:
YouTube user yankayan hacked his Kinect to transform a normal wooden stick into a light-saber in real-time, with real light-saber whooshing sounds!
Can’t find that remote? No problem, at least if an engineering prototype TV system Toshiba are demonstrating at their booth ever makes it to the marketplace. The TV uses an infrared detector to locate a viewer’s hands in three-dimensional space. With the same kind of gestures that Tom Cruise used to control his police computer display in Minority Report, users can select images or video from a content database by zooming and panning through thumbnails. They can then control the playback of video using other gestures–holding your palm upright and then moving it back sharply was the equivalent of clicking on something, while holding up both hands and moving them together or apart zoomed in and out (a motion familiar to anyone who has used the iPhone or iPod Touch devices).
The system still needs a little fine tuning — it became tiring after a while to hold my hands in the right postures that the system could recognize, but it’s a clever idea that could allow for large interactive displays in places where it’s not practical to try and supply a remote or keyboard or use a touch-screen. Imagine using this kind of system in your kitchen to pause, rewind and start a cooking video for example, thereby avoiding getting a remote control covered in whatever ingredients happen to be coating your hands.