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Kinect for the PC?

David Gilbert


It was Microsoft’s big entry into the world of family gaming and motion-activated controllers but within hours of their celebrity-adorned launch of the Kinect for Xbox 360 at the National History Museum in London, hackers had uploaded a driver which will allow gamers to use the device with any PC.

A video just posted on YouTube by Hector Martin, one of the programmers involved, outlines how, within three hours of the shops opening on Wednesday morning, he had managed to have a complete hack of the device working on the Linux operating system.

The open source driver is now available to download from the net and will allow people to connect their Kinects to their PCs. Why would you want to do this? At the moment there is no real point as there are no games or apps designed for use with the Kinect for PCs. A group of programmers have also claimed they are creating an SDK platform for Kinect on Windows, which will allow other people to create apps and games for Kinect on PC.

Before this happens however the group, known as the NUI Group, need to raise $10,000 in donations. Maybe they should send Bill Gates a quick email, I hear he’s big into philanthropy these days. In the meantime expect to see some homemade games and apps appear on the net in the coming weeks from people with nothing better to do with their time.

If you really want to download the open source driver to look at yourself via the Kinect on your PC then you can do so from Martin’s website.


November 11, 2010, 8:46 pm

Heh, you need quite a large space in your living room for Kinect to work properly; good luck finding the space in front of your PC!

Just poking gentle fun there. Actually I think it's a good idea, as this device has the potential for so much more besides gaming.

Tim Sutton

November 11, 2010, 9:03 pm


Yep, I'd love a Kinnect to run media center based PCs.

I'm having a new kitchen designed at the moment, and a touchscreen PC is part of the build. I would pay a large premium if Kinnect could be fully utilised with that machine, so that dirty fingers on the screen wouldn't be an issue.

Go to it Microsoft!


November 11, 2010, 9:40 pm

why didn't microsoft just release its own driver and SDK, the worst possible outcome is that they sell more product esp. to people who dont even have an xbox. they could have even not done any games and just let the 'general comunity' write programs for it as they are now going to do.


November 11, 2010, 10:13 pm

The ultimate media centre PC remote control? Expensive but even my old man could probably master it :)


November 12, 2010, 12:57 am

To echo the above comments. I think with a multiple screen set-up you could get a good 'Minority Report' thing going on. I'm sure the modding community out there could cook up some really cool interfaces.


November 12, 2010, 5:13 am

I question the validity of these 'drivers', since they exist already. Kinect is the Xbox 360-fied version of the PrimeSenor camera which itself uses an FPGA to provide the depth and image of the camera at 30fps. This was developed by PrimeSense (an Israeli company), which Microsoft has since bought. You can get a development PrimeSense camera for a fee (granted, a little more than the Kinect's price tag) already, and with it a whole set of drivers, SDK and sample apps that work with it. The middleware is called NITE, and you can get it here: http://www.primesense.com/?p=5...

Surprise surprise, it's available for Linux too. So precisely how much work has gone on by these people is probably only to hack Microsoft's protection measures. But given MS made the Xbox controller available to Windows, it's not going to that big a deal to bring Kinect, legally, to the PC either since all the groundwork is there already.


November 12, 2010, 1:19 pm

Point is that target group for this product is very small. Jumping up and down in front of a screen is fun at parties and gatherings. Otherwise it has very few applications. It could be your personal fitness instructor by checking your body postures or perhaps your dance instructor to some degree. As for the games it has very limited potential.

As user interface it has some advantages. I wish that i could just yell NEXT when annoying music comes on and I'm reading a book for example. Or if I could say FREEZE to stop movie when my doorbell is ringing. Motion gestures are also great for some quick interventions. But for any prolonged interactions some kind of controller is much, MUCH better option. And lastly you have to be in the right place, standing up, to be recognized by KINECT sensor.

Given the limited use and number of people that will actually attach it's KINECT to PC. It's more of a novelty and engineering interest then anything else. One place where it could be of real benefit is in museums and other public environments. There is a need for interactive presentations and/or entertainment and keeping physical controls away from the public is a real benefit. But for that it should be able to isolate a single body much, much better.


November 14, 2010, 1:03 am

I disagree with the target group for Kinect being very small.

I believe with the right tweaking it could be made to work for pc users sat in front of it, and could do for the PC what the xbox 360 controller did for gaming.

The applications are mind boggling. Video conferencing, media centres, pc security (recognition/security cam), gaming, purchasing online, product recognition, song identification...so many uses.

Microsoft would be very stupid not to launch this on the PC and soon, particularly since this is a field Apple is probably working on at the moment...and may get right, just like the iPad, which was an instant success compared to Microsofts poor tablet offerings in 2000.


November 15, 2010, 8:00 pm

This being the PC it's not a case of 'can it be made to work?' but 'can it win out over it's competitors?'. Personally I'd rather see something like the novint falcon take off which not also gives you 3d control like kinect but adds surface and force simulation.

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