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Top 5 Kinect Hacks For Xbox 360, Windows PC, and More

Updated on June 18, 2011

When the Xbox 360 Kinect was first released in November all it was was a nice accessory for the 360, a device meant to be a better version of the Wii, a plea to all the casual gamers out their to buy Microsoft's system. And for that reason it was a big success; Christmas saw many more Xbox 360's and Kinect ship, giving Microsoft an even bigger lead in the race to be the best gaming/entertainment console.

What Microsoft didn't expect was that the Kinect would be fully, and utterly, embraced by the hacking community. For, with Kinect, the possibilities were, and are, endless (one person has gone as far as saying that the software in the Xbox 360 Kinect will eventually be used to control Lunar landings; in other words it will be pure, robotic, control).

Within weeks of the release of the Kinect, videos were going viral on YouTube (as viral as hacking videos go) and quickly got Microsofts attention. At first they were dismayed; then they were intrigued. Unlike Sony - whom has created dozens of updates to prevent hacking - Microsoft liked the idea of the Kinect being used for so much more than it was designed to be. They liked the idea - they even encourage it.

The result? An explosion in the Kinect hacking community; it spawned sites such as, as well as other open source websites. It's only been 3 months, but in those months, many, many awe-inspiring Kinect hacks have been created. If this keeps up, well, who knows how long until we control those lunar landings.


Here are the best Kinect hacks to date (Top 5 Kinect Hacks):



This is by far one of the best Kinect hacks, only because it's available for everyone to use. That's right, you can, if you want, go right now and download this program. Of course, you probably want to know what it does first.

This top Xbox 360 Kinect hack is for Windows 7. The hack, simply put, will allow you to use your Kinect on your computer. By creating your own set of hand gestures - after you install the program - you can control anything and everything on your Windows 7 computer. This means you can play Tetris standing up; you can control all of the thousands of windows applications. It's very inspiring and very fun.

Other features of this Kinect hack include control and navigation of the Xbox Media Center and Windows Media center. The best part I like about this hack is that it gives you freedom to make you're own decisions and make your own variations.


3D Video Capture

Remember when the idea of holographic, and hologram communication, first came about in Science fiction books and movies; everyone remembers the holodeck from Star Trek. Remember how cool it seemed, but at the same time, how far-fetched, how impossible it was?

One of the coolest, and one of the best, Kinect hacks is the 3D video capture. This is the first true step towards that science fictional world of holograms and holodecks. Using the camera on the Kinect, as well as 3D rendering cameras, you can create a 3D hologram of yourself.

In the video you see here, only one Kinect was used, resulting in the other half of them room being non-existent (since the point of view is from a camera on one side). However, since this video has been released, successful attempts with multiple Kinects have been completed.

Cool, right?


Kinect Robots

Remember when I talked about Lunar landings, and controlling those probes, capturing that alien environment. Well - here's the first step.

In this video you see a Kinect sensor connected to a robot, wherein it moves around the room, capturing the environment, and then sending that data back to a computer where it can be constructed in 3D.

Now can you imagine the possibilities? We could go to environments where humans could never go before (ocean depths, Mars) and actually see what the topography, the characteristics of the land, what everything is like. It's taking exploring, and adventure, to a whole new level.


Lightsaber Kinect Hack

One of my favorite Kinect hacks, as well as one of the best Kinect hacks, is also one of the most fun.

It's a simple hack - well as simple as one can be - that transforms an ordinary object into a Lightsaber via the Kinect Camera.


Kinect 3D Drawing

I just personally love this Kinect hack; the idea is awesome, and the simplicity of it is breathtaking.

Using openframeworks coding and a Kinect camera, as well as a 3D drawing program, you can see in the video that just by moving your hands in front of a Kinect camera will allow you to create 3D images.

Is a new art form being created?



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